Don't Let Decisions Happen in the Dark
Right now, New Mexico has $1.1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and the largest revenue surplus in its history. (Approximately $1.3 billion according to the Consensus General Fund Revenue Outlook, September 2, 2021)
Two State Senators are suing the Governor over who gets to decide how to distribute the ARPA funds—the Governor or the legislature. [UPDATE: the NM Supreme Court sided with the Senators. The state legislature will allocate the federal funds.]
Why don't the people of New Mexico get to have a say?
Some state governments have engaged in partnerships with community organizations; they have held listening sessions to hear ideas and suggestions from residents.
Imagine including the people of New Mexico in decisions that will affect us!
We elect legislators to represent us and we need to communicate with them. Our part-time citizen legislators most often don’t have staff to assist them. As nonprofit leaders, we need to ensure that legislators know the needs of our communities. We need to ensure they know about the work we’re doing.
If you don’t have a relationship with your State Representative and Senator, now is the time to create one. Tell them about the mission of your organization, the work you do, and the needs of the community. Don’t be shy about suggesting how they could invest some of the available money that will make a substantive difference in our communities
Contact the Governor’s office and your State Representative and Senator to require fairness through transparency. The ARPA funds and the state surplus belong to all of us. We have a right to know how decisions are being made and where the money is going.
You may be told that the Governor and the legislature is waiting to see what is in the Build Back Better bill and the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. Tell them that New Mexicans can’t wait. Tell them to use this time to hold listening sessions to hear from the people.
If we don’t speak up now, it will be business as usual with decisions being made behind closed doors. If we don’t speak up for our communities, it will be a tacit endorsement of whatever decisions are made.
So, speak up!
New Mexico needs informed decision makers for smart decisions and better outcom