Many of the New Mexico registered voters participating in a recent survey believe that budget surplus funds should be used to improve public safety and invest in education and public schools. Meanwhile, 31% want to see the estimated $3.59 million in “new money,” or fiscal year 2024 revenues in excess of already appropriated funds, be used for economic development.
The results of the survey were shared by New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black during a “Business Day” event in Santa Fe. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, Tourism Secretary Jen Schroer and a number of state legislators also spoke at the event held Tuesday morning.
The survey was coordinated by the chamber and Strategies 360, a communications consulting firm, and involved speaking with 500 New Mexico registered voters from Jan. 12-14. Forty-one percent identified themselves as Democrats, 33% as Republicans, 26% as liberal, 32% as conservative and 31% as moderate.
When asked if New Mexico was on the right or wrong track, 51% said the wrong track. Some of the areas they felt the most dissatisfaction with were crime and public safety (53%), public education (40%) and housing availability and affordability (33%). Economic growth and diversification saw 57% of respondents somewhat or very dissatisfied and 41% somewhat or very satisfied.
When asked what type of public safety and crime reduction programs they thought would be effective, 80% said increased funding and support for mental health and substance abuse services in communities, while 76% said policies that would make it easier to hold suspects before a trial. Another 75% said increasing the number of police officers in communities.
Asked which education proposals they would support, 91% said reading and math tutoring for kindergarten to 12th grade students, and 85% said funding for career technical education programs at community colleges. About 79% said policies to require all third-grade students to read at grade level before moving up, with exceptions for students with disabilities or whose primary language is not English.