(Alexandria, Va.) -- As New Mexico Senate candidates Tom Udall (D) and Steve Pearce (R) battle for votes in the final two weeks before Election Day, taxpayers have a tool they can use to measure the rhetoric against the reality of the Congressmen's campaign promises. The nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) released a study today that found roughly $24.9 billion separates the price tags of the candidates' platforms.
"Stump speeches usually consist of words that politicians think voters want to hear, but our study reminds candidates that there's something else New Mexicans want to hear about: the impact on taxpayers' wallets," NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady said. "Now citizens have hard data to evaluate how the candidates' wish lists would affect federal spending."
In preparing the study, NTUF reviewed the candidates' campaign Web sites and news reports to find any proposals that would have an effect on federal expenditures. Cost estimates come from a variety of independent sources, including Congressional Budget Office reports and data from NTUF's BillTally cost-accounting system, which since 1991 has computed a net annual agenda for each Member of Congress based on their sponsorship of bills. Among the findings:
- U.S. Rep. Udall (NM-3) has offered 19 proposals that would impact federal spending -- seven of which would increase annual outlays and 12 of which have unknown fiscal effects -- for a net annual spending hike of $25.3 billion. None of his platform items would decrease federal spending.
- U.S. Rep. Pearce (NM-2) has offered eight budget-related items -- two of which would increase annual federal expenditures and four of which have unknown costs -- for a net annual spending hike of $345 million. Two of his platform items have no effect on spending, and none of them would decrease it.
- Among Udall's largest proposals are an expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program, which would boost federal outlays by $7.5 billion each year, and health care for veterans, which would increase annual spending by $7 billion.
- Pearce's biggest agenda item involves the creation of defense-related jobs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which would cost $300 million a year. Among his proposals with no fiscal effects are plans for oil exploration and alternative energy and tax deductions for those who purchase private insurance.
The New Mexico Senate race is one of several that NTUF is analyzing, including Colorado and Nebraska. Contests were selected on factors such as geographic diversity, perceived political significance, and the specificity in the candidates' platforms. NTUF is the research arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: The full candidate studies are available at www.ntu.org.