Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

New Mexico Gov. Enacts Bold Reforms to Strengthen Nation’s Top Economy


This week, Bloomberg News reported that New Mexico has the “top performing state economy since Trump took office.” On the heels of that announcement, the good news kept on rolling for New Mexico residents when Governor Susana Martinez unveiled what are potentially the boldest series of occupational licensing reforms ever undertaken in the United States.

Governor Martinez’s new executive order is a serious course correction for New Mexico’s economy. The state has among the nation’s most arduous licensing requirements, and these unnecessary regulations stifle entrepreneurship while doing little to promote public health.

Here are some of the highlights from Governor Martinez’s plan:

  • “Reduce fees for licensure to 75 percent of the national average or less”
  • “Waive initial license and testing fees for New Mexicans who are eligible for welfare programs such as SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid”
  • “Allow people who move here from other states, such as military families, to transfer their licenses to New Mexico or substitute professional experience if they come from a state that does not license the occupation”
  • “Make it easier for those with criminal histories to obtain licenses, find jobs, and help prevent them from returning to crime”
  • “Expand the acceptance of online continuing education credits”

Governor Martinez also released another preliminary executive order which called for the state’s boards to look for alternatives to licensing requirements wherever possible and promoted greater transparency.

As noted in Governor Martinez’s latest executive order, “evidence suggests comprehensive occupational licensure reform could save each New Mexico family more than $1,000 per year by decreasing prices and expanding consumer access to goods and services.”

In addition to expanding markets and lowering fees, Martinez’s wide-reaching initiative stands to grow New Mexico’s work force by incorporating elements of welfare reform and criminal justice reform. Policymakers across the country should imitate the Martinez model because it creates new incentives for residents to join the work force, and it offers a ‘hand up’ to those who may need it.

While Susana Martinez is unfortunately leaving office in December at the conclusion of her second term, thanks to this series of bold reforms, she can leave knowing that she is going out on top. New Mexico’s economy is already leading the nation in economic growth — and she just strengthened it even further.

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Jonathan Decker

Jonathan Decker is the Chief Economic Correspondent for

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