Audio Tipping Point Uncategorized

136 Anti-Energy, Democracy Dollars, Film Subsidies and More

On this week’s podcast, Paul and Wally discuss the attendance of two of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top staffers in New York at a radical anti-energy conference sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Trust.

Proponents of “Democracy Dollars” which will appear on Albuquerque voters’ ballots won’t debate with opponents. The supposed proponents of good, open government want to use the muscle of the myriad left-wing “grassroots” groups to push the issue through on ballots.

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes makes a bogus case for film subsidies.

And in a special bonus segment, Paul talks with Cindy Glover, a data analyst with Crestline Promotional Products, about her study regarding whether consumers “shop in a manner consistent with their values.” You can see the study here.

Audio Tipping Point Uncategorized

126 Oil Revenue, Railyard, ETA and more

New Mexico revenues confirmed to be at all-time high thanks to oil/gas boom with $907 million of “new” money available for the Legislature to spend in 2020. A new permanent fund has been proposed as a destination for those dollars. Is that a good idea? Paul and Wally briefly discuss here, but elaborate on this week’s interview podcast in a “deep dive” on sovereign wealth funds. Finally, with all this money flowing into the State’s coffers, who pays for the roads that have enabled the oil boom who should pay for the roads and infrastructure in the Permian Basin?

Federal legislation called the PRO Act is expected to receive a House vote in September would ban right to work. While this bill is not likely to pass the Senate or be signed by Trump, it is an indicator of just how left-wing the House now is and it is likely something the current crop of Democrat presidential hopefuls would sign.

$50-$80 million would be required just to get the railyards site prepared for some future project. Where is this going to come from? What could be done with this site? Is it really worth the cost?

Enviros join PNM, and labor union to take case before NM Supreme Court to force PRC to adhere to ETA, not prior law.

New Mexico’s unsustainable college sports programs illustrated as NMSU athletics balances its budget with infusions of cash from the university, taxpayers, and student fees.


Talking mandatory paid sick leave on panel w/ Ernie C’ de Baca of NM Hispano Chamber & Carla Kugler of NM Associated Builders & Contractors

Alongside some other local business leaders I shared some of the Foundation’s concerns about the paid sick leave mandate being considered by Bernalillo County Commission and expected to be voted on by Tuesday, June 25.

A brief description of concerns from opponents can be found in this recent Albuquerque Journal opinion piece.


Tipping Point New Mexico Episode 104: NBC/Universal Film Deal, New Ranking for NM and more

Paul and Wally have a wide-ranging discussion on a variety of issues including:

• The NBC/Universal deal and it’s many problems.
• Alyssa Milano develops a rating system for abortion and film.
• NM heavy reliance on tax incentives, impacts and possible solutions.
• Voices for Children report: NM 50th for child well-being.
• More developments on Holtec issue. Does Permian Basin Petroleum Association have “no position” on Holtec? Or, “is the concern we have the placement of this facility housing high-level
radioactive waste puts at risk the most important energy producing basin in North America.”
• ART costing taxpayers $300,000 just to maintain empty stations.

Economy Energy and Environment Notable News Tax and Budget Top Issues Uncategorized

What Big Wind doesn’t tell us

Earlier this month, the Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association came to Santa Fe to release its national “market” report for 2017.

The slick marketing materials the lobbying organization dispensed at the Roundhouse claimed that wind in the U.S. is “bringing more affordable, clean, and reliable energy while growing the economy.” New Mexico was cited as a “rising star” that “added wind power capacity at a faster rate than any other state last year.” But AWEA left out more than a few facts that policymakers need to know in order to make sound decisions about energy policy in the Land of Enchantment and throughout the nation.

First, wind-generated electricity is almost entirely the product of government mandates, grants and tax credits. The federal production tax credit is now more than a quarter-century old. It was crafted to help the industry attain “maturity,” but the sun has yet to set for the taxpayer-provided perk. The credit has been renewed multiple times and its cost is considerable.

For wind farms that were built in 2016 and went online in 2017, its value was $24 per megawatt hour — an enormous sum, given that the price of a megawatt hour on the wholesale market hovered between $20 and $50 last year. (As the Institute for Energy Research noted, the tax credit “is so large relative to the economics of the industry” that “many wind operations cannot take full advantage of it — their eligible tax credit is higher than their tax liability. Thus they structure complex deals with Wall Street investment banks, effectively auctioning off their tax credits to outside financiers.”)

Big Wind also can thank government for mandating that customers buy it. The Land of Enchantment’s pols have required that investor-owned utilities make “renewable” power 20 percent of their portfolios by 2020. (Thirty percent of that generation must be from wind.) Even that’s not enough for some — U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Democratic Party’s likely nominee for governor, backs “a 50 percent renewable standard by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040.”

Second, wind is intermittent and unreliable, and that has serious consequences for grid operation. There’s a reason physicist Howard C. Hayden called wind-generated juice “the lowest quality power on the planet.” The New York Times once wrote that “because it is unpredictable and often fails to blow when electricity is most needed, wind is not reliable enough to assure supplies for an electric grid that must be prepared to deliver power to everybody who wants it — even when it is in greatest demand.” When breezes aren’t strong, backup power (usually fueled by natural gas, diesel and coal) is required to pick up the slack. As one wind critic observed, even if turbines “could be produced for [nothing], it seems likely that the costs of working around the problems caused by intermittent electricity would be greater than the compensation that can be obtained to fix those problems.”

Transmission is another challenge. Since high-wind zones tend to be in isolated regions, power must be moved long distances, necessitating the construction of costly transmission infrastructure. AWEA’s map of the Land of Enchantment shows that turbines are clustered along the state’s border with Texas, far from the Albuquerque-Santa Fe metroplex.

Finally, the economic “benefits” of wind power are largely illusory. It is certainly not cheap. As wind has grabbed a greater share of New Mexico’s electricity generation, homeowners have suffered. Residential rates rose by 34.4 percent between January 2008 and January 2018 — an increase far greater than inflation. As for job creation, Big Wind’s numbers can’t be trusted. As Lisa Linowes of the Industrial Wind Action Group explains, “the Bureau of Labor Statistics … reported 4,390 [wind] technicians working nationwide as of May 2017,” but AWEA claimed the “job count nationwide was 9,800.”

Unreliable, expensive and the result of “green” coercion, wind power isn’t “the future” — it’s a step backward from efficient and affordable electricity.

D. Dowd Muska is the research director for the Rio Grande Foundation, a nonpartisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.

Economy Education Notable News Taxes Top Issues Uncategorized Videos

RGF weighs in on proposed Santa Fe soda tax on KOB TV

Economy Energy and Environment Uncategorized

Robert Zubrin’s Presentation “Merchants of Despair”

Author and scientist Robert Zubrin discusses his book “Merchants of Despair” which connects the modern environmental movement all the way back to the eugenics movement of the early 20th Century. His presentation is available below and his slides are here.

Economy Uncategorized

Small Bit of GOOD News on New Mexico’s Economy!

Earlier this week, the latest unemployment numbers were released and New Mexico remained stuck with the highest rate in the nation (6.7%). That’s obviously not good news.

But, as we’ve pointed out in the past, unemployment numbers only tell part of the story. If people have dropped out of the workforce, they are not included in the unemployment rate. So, it is important to consider the workforce participation rate as well.

And, as the chart below which tracks US and New Mexico workforce participation rates dating back to 1976, New Mexico (finally) saw a rebound in 2015 after years of decline.


Before you get too excited, it is worth noting that New Mexico still trails every other neighboring state:


Is this just a “dead cat bounce” or is it a sign that more New Mexicans are getting back to work? It’s hard to say. What we know is that New Mexico’s economy needs some dramatic free market reforms that push our unemployment rate down and increase the numbers of New Mexicans who are “makers” as opposed to “takers.”


RGF President Paul Gessing Discusses The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on KNAT TV-23

Watch “Joy in Our Town” with host, Ebony Romero, and guest, Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation, as they talk specifically about the MEDICAID expansion in New Mexico.

Posted by KNAT – TV 23 on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Economy Research Tax and Budget Uncategorized

New RGF Study: How Federal Spending in New Mexico Grows State/Local Government


(Albuquerque) – Elected officials of both parties have conspired over several decades to “bring home the bacon” in the form of federal dollars. For example, Senators Domenici and Bingaman served in the United States Senate for decades and were known as effective “porkbarrel” politicians.

New Mexico’s poverty along with its willingness to aggressively pursue federal spending has made the State the 3rd-greatest recipient of federal dollars relative to what it sends to Washington. A report by Key Policy Data recently found that New Mexico receives $1.69 for every dollar it sends to Washington.


More recently, the Republican Gov. Susana Martinez agreed to expand Medicaid under the federal “ObamaCare” program thanks in part to the generous federal match which is currently 100% of the costs of expansion and will remain at 90% from 2020 on. Prior to Medicaid expansion, Medicaid was often touted as “economic development” due to the fact that the federal government covered 70% of the program’s cost in the state.

Also, the Republican Mayor of Albuquerque has been pushing for a plan to put “bus rapid transit” along Central Avenue. That plan is contingent upon the federal government kicking in $80 million of the plan’s expected $100 million cost.

While federal funds are often seen as “free” and an “economic stimulus” by proponents, a new analysis by Dr. Eric Fruits, an adjunct scholar with the Rio Grande Foundation, each additional dollar of federal intergovernmental transfers to New Mexico is associated with $0.99 in additional taxes, charges, and other state and local own source revenue.

This new research further finds that New Mexico experiences a larger ratchet effect than states as a group. In 2012, New Mexico state and local governments received $5.9 billion in federal intergovernmental transfers and spent $13.1 billion raised from state and local sources. A hypothetical 10 percent increase in federal transfers to New Mexico would amount to about $590 million more federal money to the state.

“How Federal Spending in New Mexico Grows State Government” is linked here.