Sunday, June 09, 2013

Local decision-making best for N.M.

by Yvette Herrell

When I was first elected into the New Mexico Legislature I knew there would be challenges ahead, but I was excited about the opportunity to help improve the economy and well-being of our great state.

It did not take long, however, to realize that ideas and solutions to these problems would often be paralyzed by the over-involvement of the federal government.

The success of our system of government depends on cooperation between the federal and state governments. It is our job as citizens to become more engaged once that cooperation becomes heavy handed and burdensome, and ultimately hinders what is best for New Mexico.

Just look at our Medicaid program. Currently, the state has a quarter of its population on Medicaid, soon to be one-third.

The Medicaid funding formula is a matching one – for every dollar New Mexico spends, the federal government spends approximately $2.50. New Mexico’s current Medicaid funding accounts for 16 percent of the state budget – $904 million for this fiscal year alone. When the federal match is added, this figure increases to $2.8 billion.

This highlights the relationship we have with the federal government; our policy appears to be geared towards chasing federal funds rather than truly helping the needy population...

Although we were unsuccessful in passing House Bill 292 – Transfer of Public Lands – a measure that would turn control of federal land management to the state, we will continue our efforts to educate the public. It is imperative that New Mexico finds ways to retain the annual royalty payments of nearly $500 million that come directly from the gas and oil industry. Our general fund, our schools, our seniors and our state depend on it.

New Mexicans would be better served if decisions on how to manage our public lands were made on the local and state levels. The Little Bear Fire in Ruidoso last year cost the state millions of dollars because of poor forest management by the federal forest service.

That’s why I’m supporting the Federalism in Action Project, to make the case that decision-making should be local because it simply works better.

I’m joining lawmakers from across the country that want to see local people making decisions; we can be far more effective together than we are working alone...

No comments: