By now we’ve all heard that Steve Alford is leaving our beloved Lobos in exchange for moving to California to coach at UCLA. Alford is about the only person choosing to move to CA and is only one of many who are leaving New Mexico. Why the mass exodus from states like New Mexico and California? The answer is simple and constitutional.
First, the constitutional issue. We have a right to the freedom of movement/travel that has been recognized in the Constitution. (The actual words “right to travel” do not appear but is interpreted as a fundamental right under Article 4). We talk a lot about how we can change our government through the ballot box, but we also vote with our feet. People can and should seek a better life through the exercising of their right of movement/travel. Seeking a better life is what America is all about. From the time of the pilgrims, to the Louisiana Purchase, to the expansion westward, Americans have always held the fundamental belief that when things get tough, one can move to a better place. Thus, the exodus that is occurring from states like New Mexico, demonstrates that our long held right to travel remains alive and well under our constitution. It seems one of the few constitutional issues not debated or under attack!
The second answer is equally simple as the constitutional analysis. New Mexico is becoming increasingly the land of disenchantment! As our tax rates skyrocket, our public schools fail, businesses leave and our educated youth leave, New Mexico is becoming less desirable to those who wish to relocate for better opportunity. Talk to any small business owner and the common theme you will hear is that New Mexico does everything it can to make it difficult to start a small business. From regulations to high gross receipts taxes, New Mexico is not an attractive place to do business. Sure we have sunshine, great culture and beautiful mountains, but those assets do not outweigh the burdening tax structure and poor business environment. Think about this logically. If you have to choose between going to a place of sunshine or being able to run your business with some level of freedom and profits what will motivate most business owners more?
What is the answer? New Mexico, unless we take after California and New York, must embrace more freedom. We must embrace economic freedom. Our state has been controlled for so long by those who could care less about freedom. Ask yourself this, “Have the policies of the past 30 years done anything to bring us into a different position?” For as long as I can remember, New Mexico has clung to the gross receipts tax. For as long as I can remember, New Mexico has ranked towards the bottom of public education (for the record, I’m a product of New Mexico public education). For as long as I can remember, we’ve continued the discussion about how to attract businesses. I think 30 years is plenty of time to figure it out right. I think 20 years and even 10 years is long enough to figure out how to do it right. The problem is that we aren’t learning and we aren’t doing it right. It’s time for our elected officials to embrace freedom. Freedom of the market place. Lift the heavy taxes off of those who provide jobs. Give individual liberty the chance to work in New Mexico. Ask college students if they will stay in New Mexico and overwhelmingly they cite to better opportunities outside of our state. I for one am ready to stop the leaking from New Mexico. Embrace freedom and watch New Mexico truly become the land of enchantment.
Until Next Time,
David A. Standridge