Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Senator Tim Keller; "We Need A New Vision For New Mexico"
In New Mexico, times have been tough. The Land of Enchantment has been gripped by economic uncertainty for over three years now. But, after almost half a decade living year-to-year (and sometimes month-to-month), New Mexico may be turning a corner and it’s time we got serious about a new, long-term vision for the Land of Enchantment. We must stop rehashing the same old issues and put forth some bold new initiatives.
That’s why the Senate unveiled a comprehensive economic development and job creation program. The bills included in the Senate’s Helping Incentivize Real Employment (HIRE) Initiative offer solid strategies to getting New Mexico on the right track. The time is right to rebuild our economic foundations, starting with a level playing field for every New Mexico business. The Senate Democrat’s proposal encourages every business, not just those in special industries, to hire New Mexican graduates, thereby making our education system stronger and our communities more viable. Additionally, new investments in a state entrepreneurial fund will give all startups with a good idea a chance to develop into solid New Mexico businesses and employers.
Over the years, our state has been guided by incremental ideas and spending triage that have left us adrift without a long-term, common-sense plan for our future. It is time to abandon the notion that a tax giveaway to a single company or long-established industry will create across the board growth from Chama to Catron County. Instead, it is time we build up new industries; small businesses and our education system reward those who play by the rules. By leveraging our strengths in energy technology potential, laboratory research and development and unparalleled cultural diversity, we must align bold, meaningful changes and encourage businesses to do the same. This is how we will grow New Mexico’s workforce.
Instead of offering token tax cuts to just a handful of businesses, let’s create a tax system that gives every business the help they need and ensures they are playing on a level field. We can broaden our tax base and lower the overall tax rate so that all New Mexicans are better off. Instead of piecemeal education reform let’s promote a system that prioritizes early education and generates pathways to jobs being created right here in New Mexico.
Our state government must get down to the work that moves us forward, and do so quickly. Every day we are distracted by menial education reforms or grandstanding on driver’s licenses is another day lost. It is during these lost, distracted days that we should be bringing together business, labor, teachers, parents and communities to build new infrastructure, encourage innovative research and care for those in need. As our legislature enters our final few weeks, the question now is how quickly we will get there and how far we will go.