The Path Forward
3 Steps to building a vibrant economy and democracy
These recommendations, if enacted, would minimize crony capitalism’s reach and lead to a more vibrant state economy and democracy.
1. Require greater disclosure of campaign finance and lobbying.
Four ways to strengthen New Mexico’s laws to hold public officials accountable include:
- Require financial disclosure statements to identify the donor’s employer.
- Require lobbyists to disclose bills/issues for/against which they are lobbying.
- Expand the scope of the Campaign Reporting Act of New Mexico to require public disclosure of as much information about the campaign spending of PACs and other non-candidate campaign participants within constitutional limits
- Advocate for development of a user-friendly website. It should provide full and open access to vital campaign finance and lobbying information with tools that enable citizens to study how particular types of donors contributed to certain candidates and offices.
2. Establish an Independent Ethics Commission.
Ethics commissions have long been believed to be an important tool in curbing abuses in government. Currently, New Mexico is one of only eight states that does not have an ethics commission. Establishing an independent, adequately funded commission that had the ability to protect complainants, have subpoena power, and have the power to discipline violators would have a positive effect on confidence in the New Mexican political system.
3. Conduct Regular and Rigorous Evaluations of Tax Subsidy Programs.
Ten states and the District of Columbia have recently passed laws requiring regular evaluation of economic development tax incentives or an improved evaluation process. We recommend that NM pass a similar law and charge an appropriate committee or agency with conducting regular and rigorous evaluation. The programs need to be studied often enough to provide up-to-date data while also allowed the time to produce thorough, detailed studies.
As business leaders in New Mexico, you can take advantage of your influential position by doing the following:
- Ask your state legislators for greater and more complete disclosure of campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures and efforts.
- Generate demand among peers to establish an Independent Ethics Commission.
- Publicly demonstrate support for policy change that requires regular, rigorous tax subsidy program reviews.