ABQ Journal editorial chides ineffective lawmakers for ‘whining’ about no salaries

In a recent editorial by the Albuquerque Journal, the unique nature of New Mexico’s Legislature, which convenes annually in Santa Fe to conduct state business, was scrutinized for its lack of urgency and efficiency. The editorial highlighted that New Mexico hosts the only unsalaried Legislature in the United States, a fact that sets it apart from other states, many of which operate on a part-time basis but still compensate their legislators.

The editorial questioned the necessity of a full-time Legislature in an era where significant policymaking often occurs through executive agencies and boards, citing examples such as the Environmental Improvement Board’s electric vehicle sales mandates and the Construction Industries Division’s EV charging infrastructure requirements. “More and more, the real lawmaking takes place at the level of boards, commissions, and state agencies through rule-making,” the editorial stated, pointing out the diminishing role of the Legislature in direct lawmaking.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature’s lack of involvement in the governor’s emergency public health orders was noted, with lawmakers largely acquiescing to the executive branch’s decisions. This led the editorial to question the value of compensating such an “acquiescent group of lawmakers” who seem to readily align with the governor’s agenda.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers had absolutely no official input in the governor’s emergency public health orders. And they were largely OK with that. Yet they continue to whine about not getting a paycheck from taxpayers. Earning one would be a good start,” the editorial read.

The discussion around legislative salaries has been ongoing for nearly two decades in New Mexico, with House Joint Resolution 7 recently proposing a constitutional amendment to allow for legislative compensation. The resolution suggests creating a citizen commission to authorize payment of legislative salaries, which would require a referendum to amend the state Constitution that currently prohibits lawmaker compensation beyond per diem and mileage reimbursements.

Public opinion on legislative salaries, longer sessions, and increased staffing shows varying levels of support, but the editorial argued that the cost of even modest salaries for legislators could be significant for taxpayers. With legislative salaries in other states averaging around $19,000 for part-time lawmakers, the editorial suggested that New Mexico should consider similar modest compensation, if any, given its status as one of the smaller states in the nation.

The editorial concluded that while exploring legislative salaries is worthwhile, it should be approached with caution and clear limits to avoid excessive taxpayer expenditure. “Lawmaker salaries are still worth looking into, but with clear caps on how far we’re willing to go spending taxpayer money now and in the future,” the editorial stated, emphasizing the need for fiscal prudence in any decision regarding legislative compensation.


8 thoughts on “ABQ Journal editorial chides ineffective lawmakers for ‘whining’ about no salaries”

  1. Yes, the legislators were ineffective during the Covid scam. They wrongly deferred to a tyrannical MLG.

    On the other hand, all this law making by unelected bodies is a plague. Far better our legislators, such as they are, than Administrative State rule.

  2. Legislators may not be paid, but our Nazi governor’s minions, uh, staff are very well paid. Their pay increases last year put 2 of them at just shy of 200K a year. They will be due for another wage increase in July.

  3. New Mexico’s DNC-controlled legislators & our Dictatorial Governor are either absolutely evil or just nuts. They are following the example of other DNC-controlled cities/states with their gun control (sic) laws which only affect the law-abiding & criminals ignore. Every single place that enacted laws like the ones these anal-retentive control-freak maniacs are shoving down New Mexicans’ throats has experienced a huge rise in crime. Why? Because it sends a signal to criminals that
    people who are soft on crime and hard on gun owners are in charge; that gun owning homeowners/business owners will be very hesitant to defend themselves with a firearm because it will be THEY who will be prosecuted and treated harshly. To the usual parrots who say that firearms come from places with more “lax gun laws” I say “bull”! A study by Obama era acting director of the US Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, Greg Ridgeway, PhD, on 4 Jan 2013, in “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies”, Page 5, read: “Contrary to the conventional wisdom that crime guns were being trafficked across state borders from places with less stringent regulations…we found that a majority of the guns used in crimes were purchased locally”. We just witnessed a 15 year old Venezuelan Illegal Alien in NYC, capital of gun control, wound a Woman tourist and fire at police officers with a gun he had somehow obtained in that Draconian gun control paradise. It reminds me of the 16 year old Salvadoran who shot & killed a USPS Letter Carrier in Albuquerque with one of the guns in HIS ARSENAL. Again, a minor, non-citizen getting his hands on guns which are difficult to obtain by law-abiding adults. Criminals don’t obey gun laws, or any other laws. Especially when they know they can count on Democrat Judges to place them on probation after having released them on their own recognizance. Therein is the problem.

  4. Legislators have acquiesced their duty and now are only “ rubber stamps” for corrupt corporate America and their government stooges. They want more time to dismantle our constitutional freedoms. Their track record for improving anything is dismal . Only a few legislators understand their mandate to uphold the constitution and represent the people , the rest think that their duty is to lord over the “lizard people “ as our governor calls the public that opposes her communist ideology. Therefore I believe that they do enough damage being part time stooges and are over compensated for what they do .

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