In January, we ran an editorial titled “Ungrateful NM legislators complain about ‘not getting paid’ despite per diem, pensions” focusing on New Mexico’s inept political “leaders” whining about not being paid enough despite getting pensions and per diem for their time on the job.
But now, these same ungrateful legislators are renewing their calls to be paid more with the interim Courts, Corrections, and Justice Committee considering a joint resolution to pay themselves, a proposal that Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Bernalillo) aims to sponsor in the 2022 30-day legislative session.
Ivey-Soto’s bill would amend the New Mexico Constitution via sending the voters a ballot measure to pay legislators via the State Ethics Commission, which would oversee salarying the legislative branch.
The Albuquerque senator claims, the Legislature is currently “comprised of the three R’s: the rich, the retired and the resourceful.” However, the Legislature was made to be a “citizen legislature,” meaning it was comprised of average citizens who work actual jobs while not in Santa Fe for the legislative session, letting them be closer to the people they serve.
“We would have more time to devote to constituent services, oversight of state government, crafting legislation throughout the interim, and these crazy 60 and 30-day sessions wouldn’t be so crazy,” claimed Rep. Moe Maestas (D-Bernalillo), who would be happy to have a full-time legislature. And with Democrats in power in both the House, Senate, and Governor’s Mansion, it would be a field day for the far-left if they could ram through their extremist agenda year-round.
But far-left Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (D-Bernalillo) claims Ivey-Soto’s bill doesn’t go far enough. She claimed as well as the Legislature being salaried, she wants its structure to be changed “to make it have the ability to do its job.” She claims in its current form, it is an “extremely weak branch of the government,” which is likely what the framers’ of the New Mexico Constitution intended.
Previously, other members have whined about the lack of pay legislators get, despite them knowingly running for the job with full knowledge it didn’t have a salary.
Sen. Bill Soules (D-Doña Ana), who has been in the New Mexico Senate since 2013, tweeted a picture of a dollar bill, writing, “#nmleg. ‘Another day another ………’. Oh wait. That’s right. The New Mexico Legislature is unpaid. The only unpaid legislature in the country.”
From our January editorial:
“Moderate” Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-Valencia), while defending Rep. Kelly Fajardo’s (R-Valencia) vote in favor of Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “mini” Green New Deal, wrote, “For all of you out there that think making votes and not getting paid to do it is easy….I say you go do it.” In 2022, many conservative Republicans will do it, and hopefully, strong patriots who do not cower will run against Reps. Fajardo and Baldonado to bring true representation to the Legislature—actual servants of the people who will not complain about the job they knew full-well they were getting into.
Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Doña Ana) claimed in 2019 while sponsoring a bill to pay legislators a salary, that the current system has people “being left out of the system.” However, she somehow got elected to the Legislature.
But despite all the misinformation from ungrateful supposed “public servants,” legislators in New Mexico do get reimbursed through a daily per diem for their work, which is $184 a day and 58 cents a mile. They also get a hefty pension for their service. After ten years, it amounts to $10,824.00.
The point of New Mexico’s legislature is for it to work for New Mexicans—not the other way around. Just remember, senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for not doing much at all. Having regular citizens who work jobs in the time they are not in the New Mexico Legislature (usually 10-11 months each year) serving as our representatives, brings them closer to the people they are supposed to represent and makes them more accountable to their constituents.
Now, time will tell if Republicans, other than extreme “moderates” like Alonzo Baldonado, join the herd of radical Democrats to try and pay themselves salaries, especially as New Mexico recovers from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s extreme lockdown that left 40% of small businesses closed and countless jobs lost.