Tim Keller

Auditor

Statewide, NM

Tim Keller was elected New Mexico State Auditor in 2014. From 2009 to 2014, he served in New Mexico's State Senate. As a Senator, Tim introduced over 100 measures and successfully passed 30 pieces of legislation. Some of his most significant passed legislation includes a 40% solar tax credit, the ability for communities to use their school facilities 24/7, and sweeping reform of the State Investment Council along with one billion dollars of tax incentives to improve accountability, transparency, and effectiveness.

Before serving in the legislature, Tim co-founded a social enterprise, Data Digital Divide (DDD), which extends help to land mine victims and other disadvantaged people in Cambodia. DDD has over 500 employees and was ranked by Fast Company magazine as a Top Innovator as well as being profiled in the best-selling book The World Is Flat by Tom Friedman.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

As traditional funding from the federal government has become increasingly uncertain, state and local governments are struggling to invest in the roads, power grids, and other kinds of infrastructure that we need to ‘build for the future’ in the changing economy. Without a standard set of rules around private funding for public infrastructure, it becomes much more difficult for both the government and private companies to fill this critical void.

Solution

Public Private Partnerships (P3s) are structures to essentially share resources to reduce the cost of construction, and therefore enable more projects, create the associated jobs, and literally build the kind of modern America we want to live in. Senator Keller is working to develop a standard set of best practices for public-private partnerships in order to untap private funding that can lower the cost and speed up infrastructure improvements while still ensuring accountability to the public.


Problem

In New Mexico alone, over $2 billion in government procurement dollars trickled to out-of-state companies in two years. This problem is replicated in varying degrees all across the nation. Even when local firms are ready and willing to bid on government contracts, loopholes in the procurement code can encourage governments to hire out-of-state firms. This limits the economic impact state spending has on the local economy.

Solution

When state and local businesses buy local, money flows directly into the local economy creating jobs, building tax revenue, reducing the ecological impacts of transport, and increasing food security. Our recent study found a clear path for government to contract more with local businesses to create thousands of permanent jobs, while also building tax revenue. We produced the first report that provides a snapshot to the public and policymakers of in-state and out-of-state purchasing by state agencies, municipalities, counties and school districts. The report provides a roadmap of doable best practices and can be replicated nationally. We have conducted a series of trainings to connect procurement officials with local businesses, and we will introduce legislation to close procurement loopholes that incentivize out-of-state spending.


Problem

Each year the New Mexico State Legislature appropriates hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to the Executive Branch for various projects across the state. Yet many times these projects will go years without being completed, if ever.

Solution

As State Auditor, Tim Keller implemented “Money on the Sidelines”, an analytical report that explored how much public money sits unspent in over 700 different accounts held by hundreds of state agencies. In total, the report uncovered $4.2 billion dollars in unspent funds. With this information readily accessible, policy changes are already in the works regarding ways to cut red tape, fully fund projects, and for re-appropriation or reversion of unspent and unusable funds.


Problem

In most states and at the federal level tax expenditures (incentives, dedications, exemptions, loopholes etc.) that have not been recently analyzed and updated are draining resources from government budgets. In NM for example, these tax breaks have cost $1 billion of taxpayer money and have not significantly increased job creation.

Solution

Senator Keller is working to bring transparency and accountability to tax expenditures by requiring annual return on investment (ROI) and jobs created reporting. This information would make it easier for impactful programs to be enhanced and wasteful, redundant and out of date programs to be shifted to areas that are more effectively meeting citizen needs and creating jobs.