Economic Development: New Mexico Still Doesn’t Get It

Earlier today, Albuquerque Economic Development held “Connect to Success,” a workshop to educate attendees about “available business resources.”


AED, “a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to recruit business and industry, help local companies grow and generate quality job opportunities,” should be commended for its desire to improve the region’s economy. Unfortunately, if its roster of speakers is any indication, the organization isn’t aware of the most effective tools to boost entrepreneurship and create jobs.

Nearly the entire seminar was devoted to programs and tax credits offered by taxpayer-funded bureaucracies. AED officials Bob Walton and Dennis Houston raved about the state’s Job Training Incentive Program. Ronald Burke, of the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, touted his group’s “strategic partnerships,” and detailed all the ways factories could obtain subsidized help. Genaro Montoya of Sandia National Laboratories described the way his employer and Los Alamos National Laboratory, via a state program, offer services to small employers. (He assured the audience that the initiative “is not in business to compete with the private sector.”) The Workforce Connection of Central New Mexico‘s Jerilynn Sans described her agency’s subsidies for worker training. John Brooks, of the New Mexico Finance Authority, instructed attendees to tell the state’s congressional delegation that NMFA needs “more money.” And Lenny Bean, of the Procurement Technical Assistance Program, whined that sequestration was “a virus” that had spread from D.C. to the Roundhouse, in the form of a failed capital-outlay bill.

Deregulation? Broad, deep tax reform/relief? Right to work? A repeal of the state’s “renewable portfolio standard? School choice? None were mentioned during the workshop.

New Mexico’s economic-development strategy isn’t working. Labor participation is low, job growth is weak, and the population is falling.

It’s time for something different.

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3 Replies to “Economic Development: New Mexico Still Doesn’t Get It”

  1. What is clear is that these people think the solution to everything is another government (taxpayer) funded program. The cost of a single government subsidized job often runs into hundreds of thousands of (taxpayer) dollars and is more than likely temporary. John Brooks, by telling the attendees to beg for more money is in fact asking for tax increases to fund his program and high taxes are part of the problem. His proposal will dampen business growth not enhance it. I guess he never thought of that or cared; duh! Another glaring problem this workshop agenda points out is the total failure of our education system in NM. NM K-12 seems to produce people who are not prepared for a job but only prepared for further taxpayer funded “job training”.

    The solution to our declining prosperity is listed by Paul but ignored by the AED roster of speakers. If all they can do is “hawk” expensive taxpayer funded programs then AED totally misses the point.

    Getting rid of the legislators who are blocking reform in favor of the status quo, which is what they want, would help to enact badly needed legislation that can open up NM to prosperity enjoyed by our neighboring states but not by us.

    See Paul’s last article.

  2. The folks who administer these programs are basically full of themselves, One whom I met with proudly spoke of only working 4 days a week. One set up an appointment with a developmental group that met on Wednesday afternoons and you would work with mentors and then him for 15 minutes. When I walked in, it was not very well organized and frankly chaotic with no direction and a bunch of young folks sitting around tables chatting presumably with mentors. I considered it embarrassingly disordered.
    The Boss walked in and talked to a couple of what were presumed staffers and then went into a room and I was told that he was too busy to meet as he had some opening in a couple of days to attend to. Frankly, his most important audience and attention should have been in that room, and wasting hardworking industrious entrepreneurs’ time should be corrected. The economic development initiatives are a way to make bureaucracies bigger and like other agencies a reason to try to tap into the state coffers. Changing the State tax and regulatory structures will do more than all of the well intentioned, ineffective economic development agencies. It is even difficult to figure out which ones are to do what and as far as I can tell, most just put more work on those who already have too much.

  3. The AED uses government money and uses confidentiality statutes to not disclose what it’s really doing. Conflicts of interest are apparent but good luck with getting documentation. It’s another way the white-collar crew can extort and earn more blatantly and by any means they see fit.

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