New Mexico Would Have Thousands of More Jobs If Gov. Martinez Was Better At Hers

As New Mexico’s governor, Susana Martinez has cut corporate taxes while vetoing measures to raise the minimum wage and keep film jobs in the state.

The results are in: Gov. Martinez is 43rd out of 45 governors in private-sector job creation, tied for second worst.

The Business Journals “On Numbers” blog published a list of the nation’s governors, ranked purely by “job creation” since that governor took office. The five governors who took office in 2013 are not rated. Their metric is simple:

On Numbers analyzed private-sector employment levels in each state during the tenure of its current governor, using seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The score for each governor is based on a comparison of the annual growth rate for his or her state and the corresponding figure for the other 49 states.

Under Martinez, private sector jobs have grown at an annual rate of 0.92 percent, versus 1.99 percent for the other 49 states. That comes out to a 15,300 fewer jobs than if New Mexico had matched the national average.

Now for a disclaimer: private sector job growth isn’t always the best predictor of what’s actually good for workers. For instance, Rick Perry is pretty high up on this list, but the majority of jobs created under his tenure are low-wage jobs that often leave taxpayers on the hook for SNAP, housing assistance, Medicaid, and other social services.

But here’s the thing: Gov. Martinez justified her actions by claiming that keeping worker wages low and charging corporations less would be good for private sector job growth. She said her tax cut “certainly puts New Mexico in a much stronger position to compete for jobs.” Meanwhile, she called the minimum wage increase a “gimmick.”

The results are in: catering to corporate interests while throwing low-wage workers under the bus isn’t just immoral, it’s bad economics. Economists agree that raising the minimum wage would create jobs, not hurt growth. Can we afford to wait for Gov. Martinez to catch up?

Photo by RobotClaw666 on Flickr

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