Bringing Back NM Expats

According to the New Mexico Business Weekly, there is a new initiative afoot among some business groups to attract educated New Mexicans who have moved out of state, back to the state. Mark Lautman, director of economic development for the master-planned, mixed-use community of Mesa del Sol, is just one local leader who believes that the demand for labor will outstrip the supply in the next 25 years and get more out of our native population.
Initiatives being promoted by the business coalition include creating an online database where companies can post work force needs and job opportunities. A $400,000 grant from the US Department of Labor will pay for much of the program.
While this is by no means a massive expenditure of public money, it would seem that the program is going to do very little to alleviate the perceived “shortage” of highly skilled workers in the state. While there are no quick fixes when it comes to attracting talent, it would seem that two things could be done by policymakers:
1) Let workers keep more of their money by cutting taxes. States that lack an income tax — Washington, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and New Hampshire to name just a few of the nine — grow faster economically and have higher income levels than their peers. Further cutting New Mexico’s income tax rate (or eliminating the tax entirely) would attract high-end jobs and workers.
2) Produce more highly-educated workers. The fact that New Mexico needs to improve its education system is no secret. New Mexico’s drop-out rate hovers near 50 percent and by almost any measure, New Mexico’s educational system is among the worst in the nation. If we want to fill skilled jobs we need an education system that produces more of them.