By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2016 Issue
More and more manufacturers from around the country and the world are starting to notice New Mexico as a leading center for commerce, industry, and trade. Thanks to a new business-friendly attitude, New Mexico continues to grow as an ideal location for manufacturers to produce their goods with access to more markets around the country and the world.
A more business-friendly environment, an improved tax climate, a capable workforce and leadership that seeks to harness the power of a diverse economy to lift up its communities all contribute to this growing success. Gov. Susana Martinez and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela are pursuing smart policies and developing strategic relationships to bring business leaders and innovators to the state, creating strong partnerships as they continue to diversify New Mexico’s economy and reduce reliance on spending from the federal government.
When Gov. Martinez took office, she pursued a bold agenda of reform, working in a bipartisan manner to overhaul New Mexico’s outdated and cumbersome tax code. The result was hailed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee as “…the closest thing we’ve had to true, total tax reform.” Gov. Martinez enacted a single sales factor, reduced New Mexico’s corporate income tax by 22 percent, from 7.6 to 5.9 percent over five years, and ended the practice of tax pyramiding. Following these reforms, Ernst & Young took another look at New Mexico, and recognized the state as the best in the west for taxation of manufacturers. The state also was recognized for “Outstanding Achievement in Tax Reform” by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan policy research group.
In September, Rural Sourcing Inc. (RSI), an Atlanta-based information technology services company, announced that they were opening their fourth software development center in Albuquerque. RSI offers an onshore alternative for software development and support that might traditionally be sent to countries such as India and China. By opening technology hubs in low-cost of living, high-quality of life U.S. cities, RSI helps clients lower their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for IT.
“Gov. Martinez continues to make it a priority to diversify New Mexico’s economy,” said Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela. “The high-tech sector is one of our target areas, and this new partnership with Rural Sourcing, a fast-growing company, will help us continue our momentum.”
New Mexico’s export policies and growth are rapidly gaining national and worldwide attention as its trade numbers continue on a sharp upward trajectory. Things began to change dramatically for the better in 2012, when New Mexico moved from 38th to first in export growth in just one year, and this momentum continues today.
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that New Mexico leads the nation in export-related job growth, at 107 percent. This comes on the heels of data showing that the state nearly doubled exports to Mexico last year. More New Mexico businesses are also exporting more products to more places than ever before. In 2014, New Mexico set yet another all-time high in total exports, at nearly $4 billion, and created nearly 16,000 jobs in New Mexico in the last year. This is New Mexico’s strongest job growth since 2006. New Mexico is now ranked 19th in the nation in private-sector job growth.
The Southwest Cheese Company, a world class leader and the largest single-site manufacturer of premium quality block cheese and whey protein powders, is one such company exporting all their products outside of New Mexico, with at least 25 percent destined for international markets. Located in Clovis, the company announced back in November that they would be expanding their operations in order to supply demand both domestically and internationally.
“Southwest Cheese is proud to be expanding operations in Clovis as we seek to capture further domestic and international cheese and whey market share,” said George Chappell, president of Southwest Cheese. “We are thankful for the support of Gov. Martinez, Secretary Barela and local leaders in Clovis.”
In addition to the diesel fuel tax exemption that prompted Union Pacific to locate in New Mexico, Gov. Martinez created a now 12-mile overweight cargo zone to allow overweight trucks from Mexico to enter and unload on the New Mexico side of the border. As a result, New Mexico ports of entry have experienced record-breaking commercial crossings each year, and several companies have moved to New Mexico’s border region.
New Mexico is now positioned to be a major gateway of trade between the Americas. New Mexico is halfway along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico Border and centrally located between the NAFTA countries, making it one of the best locations in which to sell goods and services to international markets. The dynamic border town of Santa Teresa is the eastern-most land port along the border and it is much easier and less expensive to build infrastructure over land than a river.
As New Mexico continues to grow as a leader in commerce, industry, and international trade, it is clear that a bold, reform driven agenda, combined with strategic cross-border relationships and a business friendly attitude are paying dividends for the state’s businesses and citizens. Those looking to grow and expand would do well to give New Mexico a strong look, or they might find themselves left behind.
For more information, contact New Mexico Partnership, 1720 Louisiana Blvd NE, Suite 312, Albuquerque, NM 87110. Call 505.247.8500 or visit nmpartnership.com.