BY ALEXANDRA MERLINO
New Mexico, alongside every state in the union, is grappling with the disastrous economic effects of the prolonged coronavirus pandemic. With so much uncertainty as we approach the 60-day legislative session, there is one thing we can guarantee: New Mexicans will be sold another lie about the economic prosperity oil and gas promises us.
For decades, the oil and gas industry and its enablers at the Legislature have told New Mexico there is no future without them in it. Decades of air, ground and water pollution were shrugged off as the inevitable cost of economic growth. What was our alternative, after all?
The facts tell us otherwise.
From 2015 to 2020, 20 of the nation’s largest oil and gas producers reported massive losses, with U.S. pre-tax income of a staggering negative $120.6 billion, an average combined loss of $24.1 billion per year and combined federal taxes of negative $55.5 billion. Despite a century of taxpayer-funded subsidies, the oil and gas industry was in a steep decline long before the pandemic’s devastation.
Continuing to subsidize a moribund industry that asks us to compromise the health of our families and the great outdoors is not responsible business. It is time our leaders at the Roundhouse prioritized opportunities that are good for New Mexico.
Businesses committed to positive change and communal well-being are the bedrock of a resilient local economy that builds true community wealth in New Mexico. If Congress wants to invest in New Mexico, it must invest in its local businesses.
Local business owners pay their taxes, dedicate themselves to their communities and provide jobs to New Mexicans. Our diverse portfolio of established and emerging industries — from agriculture to outdoor recreation — can be valuable economic engines with the proper investment from Congress.