New Mexico's economy picking up

Posted at: 05/08/2013 6:14 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

There are more new signs of life for New Mexico’s weak and ailing economy.

After years of recessionary shrinkage there is a new spike of interest in New Mexico as a place for companies to relocate, expand or start up new operations.

The New Mexico Partnership, a state-funded non-profit aimed at bringing business here, is reporting a big increase in contacts with companies that are considering coming here.

Partnership CEO Steve Vierck says the prospect contacts are up from two a month last spring to eight a month this year. The big push for years has been for high tech industry, and that hasn’t changed.

“We’re seeing emerging technology companies that have some connection to the national labs, either Los Alamos or Sandia,” Vierck said. “That’s certainly there, but there are digital media firms out there. There are some technical support center projects out there right now.”

This may come as a shock, but most major corporate executives don’t really want to come here for our sunshine, our fresh mountain air or our green chile.  Vierck says they’re looking for something wallet-friendly, too, and that’s what the Governor and the legislature gave them in this year’s legislative session. Vierck says companies are highly interested in the tax reform package lawmakers passed in the final hour of the session back in March, including a cut in the corporate income tax that has been the highest in the region.

“That makes us competitive, so now we become part of the mix,” said John Garcia, director of economic development for the city of Albuquerque. “We’re in the game with some bigger players in the West that might otherwise have not looked at Albuquerque or New Mexico.”

“I was in Chicago on a sales mission two weeks ago, and Illinois is going in the other direction from New Mexico,” Vierck said. “Things are worsening in Illinois. They’ve raised corporate income tax. They’ve got a major deficit.”

Vierck and Garcia say that all of a sudden, New Mexico is looking pretty good to corporate America.