MLG’s scapegoat? Finance chief resigns as NM bleeds cash after Dems’ irresponsible spending

Late Tuesday, it was reported that Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, Olivia Padilla-Jackson, will be stepping down from her post as the state bleeds cash due to a sharp fall in oil production. 

According to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, the oil and gas industry contributes 39% to the state’s general fund, and the industry is hurting due to the impact of an oil price war with the Russians and Saudi Arabia amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The news comes as Lujan Grisham will be forced to deal with the implications of the crisis after she signed a bloated budget of $7.6 billion, which passed on strictly party-lines through the state House, while some fair-weather Republicans voted for it in the Senate. The budget is a 7.5% increase from the previous year’s budget, despite calls of irresponsible spending by Republicans, looking to set aside money for the state’s savings account.

“Because of our undisciplined and reckless spending, the oil and gas industry will collapse and we’ll be in here and it will be even more painful than it was six years ago,” said Rep. Jason Harper (R-Rio Rancho), predicting the inevitable fall of the oil boom, which came not months after the wreckless budget passed.

Now, it appears Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham may be pushing finance chief Olivia Padilla-Jackson out of her role, as the scapegoat for the Governor’s “irresponsible” budget has come back to bite her. The Governor’s office did not comment on Padilla-Jackson’s resignation but did comment on the person she appointed to fill the post in the interim. 

Debbie Romero, who is deputy secretary and a longtime department official, will replace Padilla-Jackson as acting secretary, who Lujan Grisham’s press secretary Norma Meyers Sackett said is “eminently qualified.” 

In recent weeks, the Governor has been increasingly hostile to the press asking questions to her cabinet secretaries, even the extremely liberal Santa Fe New Mexican, which was scolded for reaching out for a comment. Meyers Sackett emailed to the liberal paper, “Media inquiries should be directed straight to me. Do not email cabinet secretaries.” 

In 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pushed out her then-education secretary Karen Trujillo, Ph.D. not six months into her job, who said the firing came out of nowhere. The “Governor’s Office hadn’t raised any issues with her job performance that would make [her] think [her] employment was in jeopardy,” said Trujillo. 

Michelle Lujan Grisham may now be calling a special session to fix her budget woes, as Republicans are ready to work with her in fixing her mess, caused by irresponsible budgeting by Democrats and the Governor’s Administration.


5 thoughts on “MLG’s scapegoat? Finance chief resigns as NM bleeds cash after Dems’ irresponsible spending”

  1. The Governor should have listened to everyone warning her about spending the surplus with new entitlement giveaways.

  2. She should have approved the legislation of cannabis. She should’ve done A lot of things. If she’s calling a special session and has both sides willing to help her fix her miss she needs to thank he lucky stars fix ALL the problems especially the one I mentioned above and all the ones mentioned in this article., and we will see New Mexico thriving again.

  3. The state should have a “hands off” rainy day fund with a floor of amount of $$$, not to be looked at, not to be sniffed out and not to be touched for “Wish List” partisan spending. A state Constitutional Amendment should be drawn up and require a clause for a 2/3 majority vote to dip into it. The Emergency Savings Account should be out of sight and out of mind, and what goes into it should only be invested in a ladder of short-term US Treasury Bills and Notes, not to exceed 2 year maturities. All interest generated should be reinvested. Initial funding should be based on a simple percentage of state tax revenue or state GDP and it should be paid into the account annually as the first state expenditure of the year, by law. Budget expenditures for the year should be established after the Savings Account contribution for the year is established. Savings contributions should be made quarterly. By Constitutional law, payments to the Savings Account should not be allowed to be kicked down the road unless a 2/3 vote by the legislature seems it necessary. All “Catch Up” payments should be made with interest based on the prevailing Prime Rate of interest.

  4. She’s the Sol reason are state is where it at she has no comment sence . Over budget spending what’s that’s tell u . Not just that she’s no good for are growing in new Mexico get out of Dodge .

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