House Republican Caucus Chair, State Representative Rebecca Dow (Truth or Consequences) on the upcoming special session and proposed rebates.
Our country, and New Mexico in particular, are in the midst of a serious energy crisis spurred on by Joe Biden and Michelle Lujan Grisham. Record gasoline prices, home energy prices sky rocketing and most recently, the potential for brownouts in Albuquerque this summer. Regardless of whether you are a homeowner, renter, small business owner, or employee, the cost simply to live has suddenly gotten much more expensive. The situation has gotten so bad legislators are going to be called in for a special session to give every tax filer in the state a rebate to help offset the spike in energy prices.
On its face this sounds like a good idea. State coffers are flush with cash right now because of the increased price of oil, so the state can certainly afford to help New Mexicans feeling the weight of higher costs. Some are even arguing for an Alaskan-style dividend for every resident of the state. A system in which people are given a certain number of dollars from oil and gas revenues yearly.
Unfortunately, giving people a one-time check is a shortsighted plan offered by a Governor who is responsible for the energy spike in the first place. The drastic increase in energy costs are not just felt when we pay our bills or put gas in our cars. We are seeing this spike in everything we do, from buying food, to paying for the services we need, or to taking part in recreational activities. Higher energy costs result in businesses, from local mom and pop shops to farmers and ranchers, to the biggest corporations having to recoup the extra costs to keep their business running; a cost that is passed on to us.
The reality is that while legislators and the Governor convene to give out money to help pay for the energy crisis we are dealing with, it amounts to throwing a glass of water on a structure fire; it is not a real solution to our problems as the fire will continue to burn after we spend the money. We are seeing the real effects of energy policy driven by emotional rhetoric rather than real world applicability.
The Governor's solution, as we are starting to learn, is to give every tax filer $700 between now and November. This money is nothing to sneeze at. Many people are feeling the pinch and struggling to get by and $700 extra dollars in our pockets will certainly help. But we are also going to give $700 to the millionaire in Santa Fe who drives a Tesla, and only $700 for the farmer and rancher who has been hit with massive increases to the cost of producing the foods we all need to survive.
This blanket type of program while helpful to many, misses the target. We should be tailoring this relief scientifically, providing more relief to those who provide our food and less to those who are not dealing with any of the current gas price issues. Unfortunately, this is the same type of lazy governance that has characterized Governor Lujan Grisham's tenure in Santa Fe.
My hope is that when we go back into session to address this growing problem we actually look at what is causing the problem and approach the solution in a pragmatic way, one that provides real assistance to those who need it. But handing out money to help with energy spikes, while ignoring the fact that Santa Fe-driven policies are leading to those very spikes is simply temporary relief for a growing crisis that will not magically go away.