Biz Report: NM gets D- and F for manufacturing, despite Martinez promises otherwise

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Innovative car manufacturer Teslas has western states full of excitement over the company’s plans to build a “gigafactory” to support the company’s rapid expansion.  With more than 6,000 jobs on the line it could be a game-changer for any state that lands the project (and any politician who can point to their role in securing it).

Naturally, that has Martinez and Democrats fighting over the right way to lure the company. Martinez says her office is in “high level” negotiations with the company and doesn’t need the legislature’s help, while legislators, led by Sens. Tim Keller and Jacob Candelaria, are pushing for a special legislative session to consider incentives to lure the company.

Read Keller and Candelaria’s call for action here.

Governor Susana Martinez and Republican House candidates are campaigning on big tax reforms, including a huge tax cut on manufacturers, they say has made New Mexico a manufacturing sweet spot for business.

…Governor Martinez worked to amend New Mexico’s tax code, ensuring manufacturers are no longer penalized for exporting their goods.  – Governor S. Martinez Official Website, State of New Mexico, Retrieved June 12, 2014     “We’re in the game now. We’re competing,” Martinez said… Martinez said New Mexico has become stronger and more competitive in manufacturing and she has sent the “strongest message yet that New Mexico is open for business,” citing a 22 percent cut in business taxes during her administration. – NM Biz Journal, Feb. 2014 reporting on Martinez speech to the business group, NAIOP.

But businesses say those changes aren’t changing things a bit. A new study by Ball State University gave New Mexico a D- grade for manufacturing and Fs in many other areas, even after Martinez’s highly-touted pro-manufacturing changes.

New Mexico will see little manufacturing expansion due to poor logistics, global positioning and human capital,” said the report, which was prepared by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “New Mexico received F grades in logistics industry, global position, human capital and diversification categories,” said CBER Director Michael Hicks. “Taken together, New Mexico should expect minimal manufacturing expansion in the years to come.” – NM Biz Journals, June 12, 2014

And, of course, there was the not-so-ringing endorsement from a national business group which ranked Martinez next to last in private sector job creation.

Journal: Martinez one of worst jobs governors – Santa Fe New Mexican, July 2013

Bottom line: Martinez and Republicans, like their cohorts across the country, don’t know how to create jobs and businesses are telling them just that.  GOP plans to just cut taxes isn’t what the business sector wants.  Time and time again, business leaders tell New Mexico they want a better educated workforce and more diverse economy before they’ll invest.