Democrat Senator: Raiding Permanent Fund is Fiscally Irresponsible

I agree with our NM Senate’s measured, cautious approach to pulling more money from our Permanent Fund. Why don’t we take a serious look at current funding for education, and whether it’s the most fiscally responsible and effective use of our tax dollars? Our budget for education budget has increased over $900 million in the last 12 years, yet proficiency ranks next to last in the Nation. What is going on?
In the legislative session that ended in February, Sen. John Arthur Smith, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, killed the measure without giving it a hearing. He said it would be fiscally irresponsible to pull more money from the fund, and that the measure would not have passed even if he had allowed it to be considered.
Any time you go over a 5 percent distribution, you’re putting that statistically into a danger zone,” Smith, D-Deming, said in a phone interview Monday. “It won’t be able to weather a downturn in the markets or grow enough to offset inflation and population growth.
The measure had passed the House of Representatives on a 36-33 vote, with all but two Democrats — and no Republicans — in favor.  Smith also said legislators separately have voted to increase funding to early childhood programs from $136 million to $305 million in recent years.