NMSU Business Outlook: June 2012

New Mexico Education Expenditure: What are we getting for our tax dollars?

Randy McFerrin, NMSU

Today, one cannot open a newspaper or turn on a television without being inundated with news of financial difficulties facing New Mexico governments at all levels. As budgets shrink, competition among governmental functions increases and politicians must make increasingly tough decisions about what to fund and at what level. As politicians contemplate increasing taxes to close budget shortfalls, the question garnering much attention from their constituents is “What are we getting in terms of service for the dollars we spend?” Increasingly many New Mexicans are asking this question of the public schools, as New Mexico struggles to fund primary and secondary education. This article explores this question from an economic productivity perspective.

Complete Article: New Mexico Education Expenditure: What are we getting for our tax dollars?

Smooth Brome and Brewer’s Sparrow Nest Survival in Sagebrush Steppe

Megan B. Ruehmann, Martha J. Desmond and William R. Gould

Invasive plants are a serious threat to global biodiversity. Exotic species compete directly with and displace native species; they cause numerous indirect effects, alter disturbance regimes and plant distribution, and reduce soil stability. Ultimately, such plants induce ecosystem-level changes. For example, the widespread invasion of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), an exotic annual, across the western United States has increased wildfire frequency from a 30- to 110-year cycle to a 5-year cycle. In the Western U.S., roughly 50–60% of the 63 million hectare once covered by sagebrush has either been completely converted to non-native grasslands or now contains non-native grasses. In addition to cheatgrass, common exotic grass species in this system contributing to the problem include crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) and smooth brome (B. inermis).

Complete Article: Smooth Brome and Brewer’s Sparrow Nest Survival in Sagebrush Steppe

Talking Points

Christopher A. Erickson

Las Cruces’ continues to bump along at the edge of a full-blown recovery. The data are very mixed, with the household survey reporting employment growth of 1.1 percent but the establishment survey (which measures the number of jobs) showing a decline of 0.6 percent.

Complete Article: Talking Points


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