Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Policy Band-Aids From Barela, Jennings a Variable

Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela brought a menu of economic policy band-aids to commercial real estate developers in Albuquerque on Monday. The organization was NAIOP NM. His rhetorical bumbling (I'll be polite) was discussed in the previous post.

The policy list, presented under the mantle of a "New Century Jobs Agenda," seems mostly to be good stuff. However, the new century started 12 years ago. The proposals are technical, reflecting what I see as the Martinez administration's lack of vision. Whatever. Here is the list:

1. Allow companies to elect a single sales tax factor.
2. Cut the corporate income tax.
3. Put $10 million into the Local Economic Development Act for paying for local infrastructure for companies.
4. Put $4.75 million into JTIP, the well regarded job training program.
5. Capital outlay reform.
6. An informed consent law for the Spaceport.
7. Main Street program: Double the capital outlay money.

My problem with Main Street is that while it nicely renovates small town downtowns, it does so without regard as to whether there is a functioning economy around the community. The only difference between an empty store with a renovated facade and an empty store with a crumbling facade may well be the tax money spent on the facade.

After the election next Tuesday, Barela said the administration will "come together" (with legislators?) and see what else can be done.

Senate Pro Tem Tim Jennings of Roswell will be a variable. The Governor, through her political guru, Jay McClesky, has run a vicious campaign against Jennings. Even if Jennings loses to Cliff Pirtle, a 26-year-old high school graduate, which would surprise me a lot, Jennings' many friends in the Senate will remember and the Senate's leadership may become less conservative. If Jennings wins, he retain his strong commitment to doing good for New Mexico, but, well, he's human and he will remember.

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