Legislators plan special session to discuss Tesla

Created: 03/18/2014 5:22 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico is ramping up the campaign to get Tesla Motors to locate its huge new battery factory in our state – including a special session of the legislature if that’s what it takes to seal the deal.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez first floated the idea, and now leaders of the legislature’s Democratic majority say they’re on board – as long as there’s something specific they can do to convince Tesla that New Mexico is the place.

The huge new lithium “gigafactory” will employ 6,500 workers on 10,000 acres – a $5 billion solar and wind powered manufacturing plant. New Mexico is a finalist for the project, along with Nevada, Texas and Arizona.

“If there is something we can do in the law to get them here, then I think everyone would be agreeable to that,” said Rep. Moe Maestas, an Albuquerque Democrat who serves majority whip, or second-in-command, in the House. “They key would be is there something definite, that if we do this they will do that.”

“I think there’s broad agreement that if we can put something together that Tesla will actually commit to, it’s important that we look at it,” said Sen. Tim Keller, who serves in the majority whip position for the Senate Democrats. “I think it really depends on whether this is a concrete yes, we’ll come if we need to do X Y and Z.”

Lawmakers say there’s no precedent for a special session like this one that would target one business. It’s even more unusual in an election year like this one, when lawmakers are reluctant to leave the campaign trail.

Cost of a special session? About $50,000 a day. Cost of the Tesla battery plant? $5 billion.

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