The Federal Reserve Bank's Coincidence Index, which creates a monthly index using data from four economic variables (see below, March 30, "New Mexico Still in Recession") released today, shows New Mexico was the fourth worst performing state during the first quarter of 2010, with only West Virginia, Maryland, and Montana behind it. For data, click here.
The index, which began with all states at 100 in July 1992, hit its highest peak two years ago, in February 2008, at 181.55. In March it was down to 165.80, which represents a decline of 8.7%. The last time the index was this low was in June of 2005. Projections suggest state revenues will not match the 2008 level until about the middle of 2013, and if revenue projections are correct, to the extent they mirror the state economy, the recession will have lasted a full five years.
I made a quick call to Sen. John A. Smith, Chair of Senate Finance, to get his thoughts on the economy and he tells me there is a school of thought that suggests state finances, nationwide, may not recover fully until the end of the decade--that's ten years from now!
So just what do our gubernatorial candidates have to say about all of this? Isn't it time we began to have an open debate about our state economy, and what state government might do to stimulate job creation? What about our tax system? Seems to be badly in need of strong reform away from the volatility of oil and gas.