Created: 07/23/2014 4:59 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The state’s new Jobs Council is working on a blueprint for turning New Mexico’s economy around and creating jobs, but it means state government is going have to dig deep and spend more serious money. The Jobs Council, made up of state lawmakers and business and labor leaders, wants to refocus more taxpayer dollars on enticing employers to locate here.
Right now, New Mexico is spending $15 million a year on a job creation fund called LEDA that extends financial help to companies that set up shop and hire people here. That’s not even close to being competitive, analysts told the Jobs Council in Albuquerque Wednesday.
“We have states like Texas, they have $250 million,” said Steve Maestas, in commercial real estate development with Maestas and Ward. “They’ve appropriated a half a billion dollars over the last 14 or 15 years. California – $100 million, going up to $200 million. Arizona, $25 million. Florida, $100 million going up to $150 million.”
The state may need to spend even more money on improving highways. Some lawmaker’s say that’s the only way rural communities in our far-fluking state will survive in today’s economy.
“If we manufacture it, if we make it there or make a portion of it, we’ve got to be able to transfer that product elsewhere where it’s going to sell,” said state Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales, leader of the Senate Republicans. “We’ve got to be able to do that.”
The Jobs Council’s mission is to figure out how to create 16,000 jobs a year for the next ten years, knowing that most of those jobs will just replace jobs that disappear in the ever-changing economy. The Council did approve a recommendation to raise the $15 million spent on job creation to $50 million. The legislature and the governor will have the final say on that.