Will ETA be another boondoggle?

After the Rail Runner, Film Credits, Super Computer, Spaceport America, the ART and the election of Michelle Lujan Grisham, one has to wonder how much more the people of this state can take? The first big mistake that Gov. Lujan Grisham has already made was signing the Energy Transition Act (ETA) into law. The ETA is destine to become the next ‘BIG’ New Mexico boondoggle.

Rail Runner: Remember Gov. Richardson? Big Bad Bill (back in the day) sold the state a pig in a poke and now we’re stuck with it. This transit system is also considered the Great New Mexico Train Robbery. The bigger ‘take away’ is the rail line still costs the state about $15,000 a year per daily commuter, not counting capital cost for the $55 million dollars to install positive train control, as required by federal law. The system has been a loser from day one. Time to switch to NG buses.

Film Industry: Another Bill Richardson ‘success’ story that was piggy-backed off Gov. Gary Johnson’s original film program. NM Film Industry in 2018 has been very busy but the State is still coming out on the short end of the revenue stream by hundreds of millions. In the 2019 session the Legislature agreed to appropriate (up to) $250 million to pay off some of that “debt.” while the subsidy program continues to cost the tax payer an estimated $150 million annually. Time to switch the lights off.

Spaceport America: Just when you thought Gov. Bill Richardson couldn’t top his other boondoggles, along comes “Spaceport America” as New Mexico’s worst example of the sunk-cost fallacy. Gov. Bill Richardson once claimed that Spaceport America would make southern New Mexico “a pioneer in the private space industry.” Ten years later, that still hasn’t happened after the initial $250 million subsidy and the $12 million in annual expenses. Time for a lift off or a send off.

Energy Transition Act: Here is the latest potential boondoggle that is trying to get off the ground. Actually, it will completely change the landscape of our enchanted lands of New Mexico. What is known for sure is that the ETA won’t have any detectable effect on climate change. This means that politicians and other ETA advocates are asking — more accurately, forcing — New Mexicans to squander their money on something that would have almost next to zero benefits to the state. Time to go with nuclear energy.

Governor Lujan Grisham: Michelle was groomed by Gov. Bill Richardson. As our new Governor with a billion dollars in reserve from the booming oil industry, she has managed to increase the 2019 state budget by that one billion leaving the state with a balanced budget (state law) and no reserve. She is depending on another boom year from O&G to sustain her shopping spree. The ETA is her pet project and wants to make it the ‘hallmark’ of her administration. Time to start thinking about a replacement.

Each of the boondoggles listed above have defined boundaries (sunsets) where if the cost becomes to great for the state to handle, they could be terminated. One of the cruelest manifestations of illogical thinking is the sunk-cost fallacy and unfortunately, this state is guilty of placing that burden on the good people of New Mexico.

Source: Rio Grande Foundation.

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