I’m not sure why New Mexico’s congressional delegation — seemingly led by Sen. Heinrich — had the pleasure of announcing that Facebook will be building a new data center in Los Lunas, but that’s the big news today. And, considering that one of New Mexico’s leading economic development consultants said yesterday that the State was facing “an economic death spiral,” we’ll take all the good news we can get.
We at the Rio Grande Foundation have raised concerns about the subsidies and tax breaks as well as the impact the facility will have on the electrical grid, but at this point all we can do is hope that Facebook’s presence in the Land of Enchantment has a positive impact on the broader economy.
We know that New Mexico is in dire need of new private sector jobs and that Facebook will provide a few hundred short-term construction jobs and about 50 “permanent” jobs, but long-term the emphasis must be on implementing broad-based free market policies like “right to work,” repeal of our “prevailing wage” law, and tax reform (to name just a few) that make our State more attractive to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Doling out massive subsidies and tax breaks on a “one-off” basis is not a good approach.
Will New Mexico “Like” this Facebook deal years from now? We’ll see. but given the problems we currently face, some optimism is in order.