Evaluation of New Mexico state website

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NewMexico.gov is the website for the state of New Mexico.

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngC-
Budget P
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Usability N
600px-Red x.png
Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Ethics P
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records P
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Taxes
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State agency websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process


This website was reviewed on January 22, 2012.

The good

  • Elected officials are listed with contact information.[1]
  • Administrative officials are listed with contact information within department pages.
  • Budgets are posted, but for recent years, only recommended budgets, not adopted budgets, are available.[2]
  • Audits are posted.[3]
  • A database of state contracts is posted.[4]
  • Bid opportunities are posted.[5]
  • State tax information is provided.[6]
  • The state has a transparency website.[7]
  • While search on the main NewMexico.gov website does not bring up these results, there is a page on the Legislature website that provides a contact for public records requests to the legislature,[8] and the Governor's Office has links to guides for public records requests.[9]
  • Legislative ethics information is posted.[10]
  • Lobbyist lists are posted.[11]

The bad

  • The site is somewhat difficult to navigate, and the search function does not search all websites of the New Mexico government; .e.g., searches for "lobbyists," "ethics," or "public records" either bring up no results or only irrelevant results.
  • Adopted budgets are not available for current and recent budgets.
  • Executive ethics information is not available.
  • No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  • Contacts and forms are not provided for public records requests to state departments.

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "C+" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 75 out of 100.[12]

The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.

Item Possible points Notes
Checkbook-level website 30 Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.
Search by vendor 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.
Search by keyword of activity 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.
Search by agency or departments 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.
Contract or summary information 10 A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.
Historical expenditures 5 Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.
Grants and economic development incentives information 10 Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.
Downloadable 3 Information can be downloaded for data analysis.
Tax expenditure reports 10 The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.
Off-budget agencies 2 Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.
City and county budgets 2 Financial information for some local governments is accessible.
ARRA Funding 2 A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feedback 2 Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.

There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.

Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.

State Integrity Investigation

The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.[13]

New Mexico received an overall grade of D-, or 62%. It ranked 39 out of the 50 states.[14]

Category Grade
Public Access to Information D+
Political Financing D-
Executive Accountability D
Legislative Accountability D
Judicial Accountability C
State Budget Processes C-
State Civil Service Management C-
Procurement C-
Internal Auditing B-
Lobbying Disclosure F
State Pension Fund Management D
Ethics Enforcement Agencies F
State Insurance Commissions F
Redistricting B-

Transparency Legislation

2011

  • SB47 is sponsored by Senator Tim Keller and would create a tax expenditure budget that would display special tax breaks included in the tax code.[15]

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Secretary of State State Lobbying and campaign finance 2011 http://www.sos.state.nm.us/
Recovery and Reinvestment Plan State Tracks federal stimulus funds 2011 http://www.recovery.state.nm.us/
Budget Division State Budget info 2011 http://budget.nmdfa.state.nm.us/content.asp?CustComKey=201583&CategoryKey=201584&pn=Page&DomName=budget.nmdfa.state.nm.us (dead link)
Contracts Database State Contracts 2011 https://web.archive.org/web/2/http://contracts.gsd.state.nm.us/HB546App/Homepage.aspx
New Mexico Spending Rio Grande Foundation Payroll, contracts, expenditures 2010 http://www.newmexicospending.com/
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=NM

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Colorado and local governments in the state employed a total of 144,852 people.[16] Of those employees, 118,633 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $403,244,024 per month and 26,219 were part-time employees paid $25,713,036 per month.[16] More than 58% of those employees, or 84,481 employees, were in education or higher education.[16]

Earning more than any state employee is Peter Dekom, New Mexico's film consultant. The State Investment Council elected to extend his contract in 2010, which is for 30 hours a month at $260,000 a year.[17]

Benefits

Paid leave State workers traditionally received four hours of paid leave in addition to their regular annual leave, to attend the Fiesta de Santa Fe and State Fair.[18] In 2007 the cost to taxpayers for the four-hour leave was estimated at about $1.5 million.[18] The leave was canceled in 2010 due to the state budget crisis. In FY2010, most state employees had to take five unpaid furlough days due to the budget crisis.[18]

Pensions

Public Employees Retirement Association serves state employees. New Mexico teacher and school employees participate in a pension administered by the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board.

New Mexico’s pension funding level has dropped from 96% in 2000 to nearly 83%, with the required contribution growing from $334 million in 2000 to more than $667 million in 2010.[19]

As of June 30, 2008, New Mexico’s unfunded pension liability was $4,519,887,000 while the unfunded retiree health care liability was an additional $2,946,290,000.[20]

Every member of the 12-member pension board is in a position that is eligible for a pension.[19] A recent study by economists Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business concluded that the New Mexico pension fund will run out of money in 2023.[21][22]

Reform

Rep. Mimi Stewart recently sponsored HB 644, which was passed in the house with a 37-32 vote. It will increase the retirement age and would tie COLA increases to the consumers price index.[23]

Education Retirement Board

The Education Retirement Board (ERB) is facing many long-term financial troubles and is currently renegotiating funding and benefits with the New Mexico Legislature. The legislature has proposed an increased individual contribution and increasing the retirement age for the beneficiaries. Meanwhile ERB reps feel that they've already made significant sacrifices and have proposed ERB members pay a half a percent more per year for the next four years, with the state contributing an additional three percent over the next six years.[24]

Contribution Increase

The state temporarily shifted 1.5% of the employer’s contribution to employees in 2009.[19]

Eligibility

The New Mexico state legislature increased the number of years of service prior to retirement eligibility from 25 years to 30 years.[25]

Funding Levels

Currently, 84 percent of PERA is funded by Buck projects, but this number is expected to drop to 63 percent within three years.[26] ERB is funded at 68 percent, but that is expected to drop to 58 percent by 2012.[26]

Public Records

The Inspection of Public Record Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: New Mexico FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. NewMexico.gov, "Elected Officials," accessed January 22, 2012
  2. NewMexico.gov, "Current Issues," accessed January 22, 2012
  3. NewMexico.gov, "CAFR," accessed January 22, 2012
  4. NewMexico.gov, "Contracts Database," accessed January 22, 2012
  5. NewMexico.gov, "State Purchasing," accessed January 22, 2012
  6. NewMexico.gov, "Taxation and Revenue Department," accessed January 22, 2012
  7. NewMexico.gov, "Sunshine Portal NM," accessed January 22, 2012
  8. New Mexico Legislature, "Public Records," accessed January 22, 2012
  9. NewMexico.gov, "New Mexico Inspection of Public Records," accessed January 22, 2012
  10. New Mexico Legislature, "Interim Ethics Commission," accessed January 22, 2012
  11. NewMexico.gov, "Lobbyists," accessed January 22, 2012
  12. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  13. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  14. New Mexico Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  15. "Clearly New Mexico" Major Transparency and Accountability Measures Head to the Governor’s Desk March 18, 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 2008 Illinois Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  17. New Mexico Watchdog, SIC extends $260,000 a year contract to film consultant, July 27, 2010
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The Santa Fe New Mexican "State cuts extra leave for Fiesta, State Fair" Aug. 26, 2010
  19. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named trillion
  20. Rio Grande Foundation (dead link)
  21. New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
  22. New Mexico Watchdog, More on the perilous state of pensions, Sept. 23, 2010
  23. New Mexico Watchdog, State pension bill resurrected, passes House floor; “Stop lying about me,” sponsor says; “Nice ethics,”union says, March 15, 2011
  24. New Mexico Watchdog, More on NM state pension plans: ERB plan gets cool reception, Dec. 21, 2010
  25. "New PERA General Member Hired After July 1, 2010 See Plan Changes" June 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 New Mexico Watchdog, Update on state pension plan story: Co-chair of retirement task force says, “We’re not in crisis and we’re not going belly-up”, Sept. 10, 2010