SANTA FE (KRQE) - The governor and others have said it over and over again: New Mexico is very dependent on federal dollars.
But it has never been clearer than Tuesday as the state tries to adjust in the face of a government shutdown.
Between the military bases and the national labs, there are a lot of federal jobs here in New Mexico.
Usually that is a good thing, but with the federal government shutting down, it could mean more is at risk.
While many still drove into Kirtland Air Force Base for work Tuesday morning, more than a thousand civilian employees were told to stay home on furlough.
At the Sandia Ranger Station in Tijeras, the flag was down, and signs on the door made it clear the U.S. Forest Service office is closed.
“In New Mexico we are very dependent upon federal dollars,” Gov. Susana Martinez responded Monday to concerns over the government shutdown.
Fred Nathan, executive director and founder of think-tank Think New Mexico, said U.S. Census Bureau data from 2010 show annual federal spending in New Mexico increased substantially to nearly $28 billion.
“That translates into about 38 percent of our workforce if you look at direct federal employees and then jobs that are created indirectly from all of that federal spending,” Nathan said.
For every $1 paid in federal taxes, New Mexico gets $2.05 in benefits, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. That is according to 2010 Bureau of Economic Analysis and IRS data compiled by the Talking Points Memo website.
Nathan said all the federal money and all the federal jobs mean New Mexico could be hurting much more than other states because of the government shutdown.
“I think it is a fair criticism to say we have been a little bit over-reliant on federal spending and federal jobs,” Nathan said. “Let's build on those jobs now and try to build out the private sector economy, and that would really make us a much stronger state.”
Think New Mexico just released a report proposing solutions they believe will do just that.
Nathan said he is meeting with the governor's chief of staff Tuesday to go over that plan.
A winter storm warning has been issued for Albuquerque and surrounding areas through 11 p.m. Thursday.
Tempers flared Wednesday night at the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education meeting as the firestorm over teacher evaluations and student testing continues.
An Albuquerque man says an emergency vet clinic turned away his dying dog because he didn't have enough cash in his pocket to pay to save him. The dog later died.
Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in the final sentencing phase of John McCluskey's federal murder trial. The same jury that convicted him of killing an Oklahoma couple, must now decide whether McCluskey should face the death penalty.
Meeting 211 goes to the University of New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos and New Mexico State renewed their rivalry on a basketball court Wednesday night with the Lobos winning 79 to 70.
MMA fighter Holly Holm has more than a fight to talk about this week. Holm also has a major sponsor in her corner.