FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2021
Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications
Commissioner Garcia Richard Statement on Headwaters Economics Revenue Diversification Report
SANTA FE, NM – This week the State Land Office (SLO) received the results of an independent study from Headwaters Economics—the first ever of its kind to focus specifically on state trust land revenue. Revenue generated from state trust land is predominantly invested in New Mexico’s Land Grant Permanent Fund (LGPF) and then distributed to public schools, universities, and hospitals on an annual basis. While the majority of this revenue comes from returns on oil and gas royalty, the SLO also leases land for agriculture, commercial development, renewable energy, outdoor recreation, and municipal development.
The results of the Headwaters report gives further credence to Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard’s message that diversifying the revenue generating activity from state trust lands will drastically improve our already booming earnings to support our public schools, universities, and hospitals.
View the full Headwaters Economics report here.
Commissioner Garcia Richard released the following statement regarding the report and its findings:
“Working swiftly to diversify is the best way to reliably and sustainably generate money for future generations. My administration is laser focused on the diversification efforts highlighted in this report through our efforts to triple renewable energy generation, attract new commercial ventures to state trust land, improve our outdoor recreation potential and partnerships, and use conservation efforts for further revenue opportunities.
“Diversification is in the best interest of our public schools and the other vital institutions that rely on funds from the SLO. And, it is in the best interest of New Mexico taxpayers, who without this money and the efforts of the SLO, would foot a higher tax bill to pay for our state’s needs.
“As a former school teacher, I understand the importance of these dollars in the classroom. New Mexico’s LGPF sits at $24 billion in revolving investment. When I was a State Representative—and conversations around economic diversification were just beginning—the LGPF was just under $20 billion and we are proud to have been a contributing factor to its exponential growth. Because of the significant growth of the LGPF, we can expect strong annual distributions of about $1 billion for years to come. However, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our State and to this fund to keep looking for ways to create new income streams and grow the numbers wherever possible not only for k-12 education, and for universities and hospitals, but for strengthening our early childhood education programs.”
Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard has overseen the New Mexico State Land Office since 2019. In that time the agency has raised $3.4 billion for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and universities. Over 13 million acres of state trust land are leased for a variety of uses, including ranching and farming, renewable energy, business development, mineral development, and outdoor recreation. The State Land Office has a dual mandate to use state trust land to financially support vital public institutions, while simultaneously working to protect the land for future generations.