Rio Grande Foundation
The Foundation's stated mission is "to increase liberty and prosperity for all of New Mexico's citizens" by "informing New Mexicans of the importance of individual freedom, limited government, and economic opportunity".
The Foundation maintains a website, a blog, and regularly contributes opinion pieces to local newspapers, as well as publishes studies related to state economic policy. The Foundation's current[when?] President, Paul Gessing, has been featured on local talk shows and radio programs to discuss economic issues.
Policy goals 
The Rio Grande Foundation researches issues of government policy and educates the public on many government reform measures. Some areas of government reform the Foundation advocates are limited taxation and reduced government spending, education reform through school choice by means of tax credits or school vouchers, and the preservation of liberties protected by the United States Constitution, such as supporting the rights of property owners against wanton government seizure (see Takings Clause, Fifth Amendment).
Political involvement 
Support for Government Transparency 
The Wall Street Journal ran an article on January 19, 2009, outlining several allegations of state corruption in New Mexico and pointing to the state's lack of comprehensive ethics laws as a possible cause. On January 29, The Wall Street Journal published a letter by Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing, suggesting that government transparency would improve New Mexico's political situation. Gessing pointed out that the legislature had failed to follow through with any of the proposed ethics reforms of recent years. He suggested that the legislature begin Webcasting its sessions to give citizens the opportunity to monitor their government's actions.
Opposition to New Cabinet-level Positions 
The Rio Grande Foundation has voiced opposition to the proposed creation of two new cabinet-level positions by the New Mexico legislature in its 2009 regular session.
House Bill 146 calls for the creation of a Department of Motor Vehicles with a cabinet-level secretary. The new department would have some capability to regulate commerce. It would have the authority to seize privately owned vehicles used for commerce in cases where the owner owes taxes to the state. The bill would also make it easier to seize vehicles used for interstate commerce than it would for vehicles used only within state lines. It was sponsored by Rep. Patricia A. Lundstrom.
Senate Bill 21 calls for the creation of a Hispanic Affairs Department with a cabinet-level secretary. It was sponsored by Sen. Michael S. Sanchez.
Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing has criticized the proposed creation of new departments and cabinet-level positions during a period of economic recession. In an interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican, Gessing said, "the last thing we need is to hire more highly-paid cabinet-level state bureaucrats."
Opposition to Albuquerque Streetcar 
On November 6, 2006, members of the Albuquerque City Council voted to extend the Transportation Infrastructure Tax until 2020. The tax was initially set to expire in 2009. Half of the funds levied through the extended tax were intended to be diverted to a streetcar project, which was supported by several councilors as well as Mayor Martin Chavez. The cost of the first phase of the project was estimated at $270 million.
The Rio Grande Foundation helped organize a group of concerned citizens called Stop Wasting Albuquerque's Taxes (SWAT). Members of SWAT felt that the existing city bus system met transportation needs and that a streetcar project would be a severe waste of taxpayers' money. SWAT also questioned whether the streetcar project would boost the property values of citizens connected with the city government, at the expense of the city's populace. Mayor Martin Chavez called SWAT an "illegal group" because it didn't register with the city government.
On November 19, 2006, the Rio Grande Foundation and SWAT held a rally to voice opposition to the streetcar project. City Transit Director Greg Payne attended the rally, but refused to defend the streetcar project.
Protection against Eminent Domain 
On March 7, 2006, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson vetoed House Bill 746, a measure intended to limit the seizure of private property through eminent domain. He became the nation's first governor to veto legislation intended to protect property owners after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kelo v. New London (2005) that a government could transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development.
House Bill 746 specified that the state could not transfer property between private parties within five years of its initial seizure. By vetoing this bill, Governor Richardson was upholding the provisions of New Mexico's 1979 Metropolitan Redevelopment Code, which allowed for the seizure of private property for economic development. After his veto, the Governor appointed a task force to recommend solutions to the eminent domain provision in the Metropolitan Redevelopment Code.
Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing published opinion pieces on the Heartland Institute's website and in the Albuquerque Journal, condemning Governor Richardson's veto of House Bill 746.
Subsequently, the Governor's task force found that there was need for reform in the state's eminent domain law. On April 3, 2007, both houses of the state legislature passed laws to remove the eminent domain provision from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Code.
Stossel luncheon 
On May 1, 2008, the Rio Grande Foundation teamed with the New Mexico Prosperity Project to host a public luncheon with John Stossel at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid. Mr. Stossel spoke to the attendees concerning excessive government regulation of business and excessive government spending.
- Taxpayer Protection Act
- SB513: Taxpayer Protection Act
- Children are the losers as education productivity lags overall economy
- Education Tax Credits and How they May Work in New Mexico
- SB462: Certain Scholarship Donations Tax Credit
- Condemnation Bill Veto Is Shocking
- New Mexico's Political Wild West
- Land of Enchantment's Culture Hurts Transparency
- Roundhouse resists entering 21st century
- civicplaza.net Webcasts
- HB146: Dept. of Motor Vehicles Act
- SB21: Hispanic Affairs Department Act
- Proposed agency add-ons hit sore spot
- Streetcar Plans Derailed by Taxpayer Revolt
- Free Market, Free Thinking
- Richardson First Governor to Veto Eminent Domain Protection
- More states limit eminent domain; fed action likely
- SB401: Repeal Certain Eminent Domain Statutes
- HB393: Repeal Certain Eminent Domain Statutes
- ABC-TV Commentator John Stossel to Speak in Albuquerque