Journal: Martinez is one of worst jobs governors

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

A national business publication has ranked Gov. Susana Martinez among the last among governors in terms of job creation.

The Business Journals — the online media division of American City Business Journals, which consists of 40 weekly print papers around the country specializing in business news — published what it calls an On Numbers report last week.

The New Mexican reported in early January that New Mexico was last in the nation in terms of job growth between January 2010 and September 2012.

Martinez’s office responded Tuesday that the slow job growth is linked to New Mexico’s economy being “far too dependent on federal spending.”

Report author G. Scott Thomas cautioned, “Experts can (and do) argue about the the ability of any governor to manipulate a state’s economy. Many are downright skeptical. …

“But the On Numbers study reflects a basic fact of political life,” Thomas said. “Governors routinely take credit for economic growth (regardless of their actual level of involvement) and are equally certain to be blamed for economic decline.”

The five governors who took office this year were not included in the study, Thomas explained. The overall rankings were based on the difference in private-sector employment growth rates.

“Gov. Martinez took office during a period of financial turmoil,” her spokesman, Enrique Knell, said in a statement.

“We face challenging times as we recover from the national recession, with federal budget cuts making recovery even more difficult,” Knell said. “We’ve sustained a steady loss of federal government jobs, at the rate of at nearly 4 percent monthly. At the same time, we’ve experienced flat or incremental private-sector job growth, which is remarkable given that in New Mexico, so much of our private sector is tied to federal spending.”

He argued that the administration has taken steps in trying to improve the job situation, including backing a law that eliminated “the double taxation on our construction and manufacturing industries” and pushing tax breaks in the most recent legislative session, which Martinez says will make the state more competitive.

“Gov. Martinez is dedicated to creating jobs in New Mexico and will continue working with the Legislature to strengthen our state’s economy,” the spokesman said.

Contact Steve Terrell at sterrell@sfnewmexican.com. Read his political blog at roundhouseroundup.com.

Top-rated governors in The Business Journals’ job-creation study:

1. North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R)

2. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)

3. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R)

4. Tennesee Gov. Bill Haslam (R)

5. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R)

Bottom-rated governors in The Business Journals’ job-creation study (Five governors who took office this year not included):

45. Wyoming Gov. Matthew Meade (R)

43. (Tie) New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and Maine Gov. Paul Lepage (R)

42. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D)

41. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R)