Every New Mexican concerned about both current and future economic growth should want to retain the pay raises for teachers and state workers, which are now scheduled to take effect July 1.
In most New Mexico towns and villages, public schools are the single largest employer, and often state agencies among the largest, too. Like it or not, public employees are the backbone of the economy in our larger cities, too.
Reduce public-employee raises, and you do real harm to local private businesses throughout our state. Especially, when considering the “multiplier effect” of recirculating in a local economy. Cut the 4 percent raises and you also deny a 5 percent or greater boost for our state!
Local businesses in towns like Gallup, Deming and Clayton, need the new spending teachers, other education and state employees would make.
Want to see our teacher-shortage crisis get even worse? Do the cuts talked about by Sen. John Arthur Smith, Republicans and others. Teachers are working harder than ever in the COVID-19 era, and now, if an expected raise is taken away, the teacher shortage will grow even more.
It is both an economic and a moral imperative that our state’s politicians protect education from cuts in the special session.