The ‘Lean College:’ A no-frills alternative for higher education

By Rob Nikolewski on November 6, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – Is it time to start thinking seriously about alternatives to the traditional model for higher education?
After all, tuition rates — as well as student loan debt — have soared in recent years, leaving many to question the cost and value of some college and university degrees.
Into [...]

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How to make NM less vulnerable to federal gov’t shutdowns

By Rob Nikolewski on October 15, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE — Regardless how it eventually ends, the partial government shutdown has highlighted how much New Mexico is dependent on the federal government.
And that leads to the next question: what can New Mexico do to diversify its economy so it will be less vulnerable to political bickering on [...]

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Should NM transfer federal lands over to the state?

By Rob Nikolewski on September 24, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – It’s not a sagebrush rebellion, but it’s close.
Five western states — Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — have set up legislative studies or task forces to consider transferring immense tracts of federal land to the control of state governments.
And there’s talk of exploring the issue [...]

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‘Right-to-work’ compromise possible in New Mexico?

By Rob Nikolewski on September 12, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – Supporters of making New Mexico a “right-to-work” state say passing a law giving employees the right to decide for themselves whether to join or financially support a labor union would give a much-needed boost to the state’s stagnant economy.
New Mexico union organizers, to no surprise, are [...]

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NM’s lousy economic numbers: Are they connected to natural gas?

By Rob Nikolewski on August 31, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE – New Mexico’s economy has been struggling for years, and the Land of (Dis)Enchantment’s woes are put into sharp relief by an interactive graphic called the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States, which ranks the economic health of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
The chart begins [...]

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Licenses to work in NM or simply to limit competition?

By Rob Nikolewski on August 1, 2013

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
ALBUQUERQUE – Does New Mexico really need somebody to have two years of experience and take two exams before they can repair a door?
Or two years’ training to install a security alarm?
Or train for two full years, pass two exams and pay $318 before getting the state’s approval to [...]

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NM 6th in growth … for state spending

By Rob Nikolewski on July 24, 2013

Economic downturn be damned, in the space of 10 years state government spending increased in every single state in the nation between 2001-2011 and New Mexico racked up the sixth-largest rate of growth.
The numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau and are compiled by the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank that calls for [...]

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Editorial: Thoughts on finishing 50th

By Rob Nikolewski on June 30, 2013

A wise old cowboy – in fact, an old Dallas Cowboy – once said, “It’s not whether you win or lose that matters but who gets the blame.”
And there’s been plenty of finger-pointing this week after the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation placed New Mexico dead last – No. 50 out of 50 states – [...]

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Analysis on New Mexico finishing 50th in child welfare survey: Where are the parents?

By Rob Nikolewski on June 24, 2013

New Mexicans have sadly become accustomed to finishing 48th and 49th in various national surveys and on Monday (June 24), the Land of Enchantment finished a disenchanting dead last — 50th in the nation — in a combined measurement of child welfare.
Now the question is, what to do about it … and whether political leaders will [...]

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VIDEO: A liberal and a libertarian debate income inequality

By Rob Nikolewski on June 13, 2013

When it comes to income inequality in the U.S., Nick Estes says “government is the only solution” while Paul Gessing says “it’s not inequality, it’s about poverty.”
Estes’ political yin squared off against Gessing’s political yang in Albuquerque Wednesday evening (June 12) in a debate about the best solutions to help those falling behind economically.
About 50 people [...]

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