New Orleans, Los Angeles and Albuquerque round out the seven cities vying for a spot in the second cohort of the City Accelerator. Each has its own unique and rich history; each faces significant challenges; and each feels familiar because of the stories they have helped to tell in the movies and TV. But the stories of the cities themselves are as compelling as any you have seen on a screen…
However, despite the positive exposure, Albuquerque faces significant challenges. A 2012 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute found that New Mexico had the highest income gap between the richest households and low- and middle-income households.
A subsequent press release from the group New Mexico Voices for Children quotes Research Director Gerry Bradley as saying, “Underlying extreme inequality in New Mexico are serious problems in the state’s job market. New Mexico has an array of jobs: excellent jobs, good jobs, poor jobs and no jobs. The excellent jobs are in the national labs and at Intel; the good jobs are in health care, manufacturing and education; the bad jobs are the poverty level jobs in hotels, restaurants and call centers; and the ‘no jobs’ are because the demand for labor in New Mexico is very weak for workers with low levels of education.”
Intel? Dude, Intel will be gone from New Mexico within the next year or two, if that. And because of all the budget cuts at the federal level, the national labs are also hurting. Health care is a growing industry, but that’s because of Obamacare — and that increase in employment for this sector will soon flatten out. Education? Teachers in New Mexico are unhappy, and they don’t make very much money either. The city’s police department needs people, but no one wants to work there — their reputation couldn’t be worse.
If New Mexicans refuse to look at this state’s problems in a real and accurate way, things will just continue to get worse.
Meanwhile, Governor Martinez is focused on running for national office in 2016, and the rest of this state’s government doesn’t know what to do to make things better. Seriously, there are no new ideas anywhere, except Republicans want to give businesses even more tax breaks and take away driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
I think we should become a state where people would like to retire — kinda like Florida, but less expensive and better (especially after we legalize cannabis).