Albuquerque – With New Mexico's unemployment rate currently at 11.3%, the 6th highest in the nation, three non-profit groups are calling on Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to forgo her own paycheck until the state's unemployment ranking improves. The New Mexico Business Coalition, the Rio Grande Foundation and Power The Future believe Governor Lujan Grisham's lockdown is destroying New Mexico's economy and she should place herself in the same position as over 100,000 of her constituents who are without a paycheck. The organizations are calling on the Governor to give up her taxpayer-funded paycheck until New Mexico is no longer ranked among the top ten states for unemployment.
"Just last year, Governor Lujan Grisham announced, 'the lost decade of economic growth is over,' yet our unemployment rate is far worse now than it ever was under Governor Martinez," said Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation. "In fact, you have to go back over 30 years to find New Mexico's unemployment rate in the double-digits."
New Mexico Business Coalition President Carla Sonntag said, "While thousands of New Mexican families are suffering without jobs and many without income, the elected leader of our state hasn't missed a payday. If Governor Lujan Grisham wants to put any sense of credibility to the words, 'we're all in this together,' she would stop her income until such time as all New Mexicans are able to work and be paid."
"It's New Mexico's energy workers and small businesses who provide a huge amount of the revenue for not only the Governor's paycheck, but every other bureaucrat in Santa Fe, and now those same workers are struggling," said Larry Behrens with Power The Future. "Nearly every other state in the country is able to deal with the pandemic while getting more people back on the job, New Mexico's Governor should share the pain until she can do the same."
The unemployment situation in New Mexico is so dire, the Lujan Grisham Administration has taken out federal loans because the state's unemployment fund is out of money. In order to pay back the funds, the administration says they will examine possible tax increases on working families.
When Governor Lujan Grisham took office, the state of New Mexico had a massive budget surplus.