In Case You Missed It
Tax Reform, Right to Work and Economic Development Will Help Diversify New Mexico’s Economy
Albuquerque, NM- Yesterday, an op-ed was published from the President of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry touting tax reform as well as the need to make New Mexico a right-to-work state. The opinion piece highlighted essential reforms to the tax code sponsored by Representative Conrad James, of Albuquerque, as well as efforts by Governor Martinez and her administration to diversify New Mexico’s economy.
Opinion: Attracting new business requires careful groundwork
Las Cruces Sun News
By Jason Espinoza
July 19th, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE >> New Mexico business leaders must think about our laws and regulations if we want to think about growing our state.
Any small business owner knows that attracting new business takes a lot more preparation than hanging an “open” sign in your window. Thousands of hours go into product development, market research, and meticulous preparation. Every missed detail means greater costs and a reduced likelihood of closing that crucial deal. So before marketing and sales begin, you prepare.
The same is true in economic development. Like your own business, the business of “pitching” New Mexico relies on first doing market research and developing our product — in this case, our mix of regulations, taxes, and incentives — to make New Mexico more attractive to potential “customers” — the businesses looking for a reason to relocate. That’s exactly what ACI does at the state legislature, and with particular success this year. New Mexico has long calculated taxes for companies headquartered here in part based on number of employees. What this means is that if a company hires more people, or relocates here, their taxes go up. We were incentivizing businesses against hiring New Mexicans.
So we did our homework, reacted to the competition, and introduced a bill to fix the problem. ACI worked closely with Rep. Conrad James and Gov. Susana Martinez to get it passed, and with strong bipartisan support, the bill was signed into law last month.
The results came roaring in almost immediately. New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela recently touted a number of new companies looking at relocating their headquarters — and hundreds of new jobs — to New Mexico. He pointed out that it was our new tax package that got their attention. New Mexico is also on General Electric’s radar as a potential site for their new headquarters, another major win for the state and a headline likely to give us even more opportunities. And the catalyst for all of this was a small, commonsense tweak in our state tax code.
New Mexico is abuzz with talk about attracting new business to our state, and this is vital to our future. New businesses that bring jobs to New Mexico — especially economic base jobs like manufacturing — will provide new opportunities for our people and help us all to succeed. Economic development organizations like Mesilla Valley Economic Development are doing the important work of telling New Mexico’s story and attracting the businesses who are looking for their next new location. But oftentimes, these organizations find their hands tied as they try to sell a product that just isn’t what the market is looking for. That’s why your voice is so important. If our state is to succeed, we must have the businesses who deal with our laws and regulations every day involved in the process of shaping those laws and regulations.
There are countless more opportunities to get employers’ attention by improving our laws and making New Mexico more business-friendly. Tax reform. Better access to capital. Right to work. More funding for our closing fund and training programs. If a small, six-page bill you probably never heard of has turned heads nationwide, imagine what we can do through a major effort!
Every bad policy on our books is another business lost to Texas or Colorado. But every good policy will bring more businesses, more jobs, and more opportunities into our state. New Mexico is a great product that’s not getting its fair share of consideration on the market. It’s time to get New Mexico the positive attention it deserves.
Jason Espinoza is the president of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry.