Bill would give NM firms more state business - Albuquerque Journal

Bill would give NM firms more state business

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New Mexico-based companies could be at a bigger advantage when seeking government contracts under legislation filed Thursday that has the support of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The proposal, Senate Bill 39, would also grant in-state preference to Native American businesses on tribal land – something not currently done under state procurement laws.

Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo
State Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants

Under the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, and Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants, the bidding preference for New Mexico-based businesses would increase from 5% to 8%.

In addition:

• Native American-owned businesses on tribal land in New Mexico would receive the same bidding preference as New Mexico-based companies.

• A 10% bidding preference given to New Mexico resident veteran-owned businesses would be extended and a prohibition on veteran-owned businesses with more than $3 million in annual revenue from getting the veteran preference would be lifted.

“Smart policies like these are what makes our state a great place to be in business, and I’m encouraging the Legislature to join me in lifting up our New Mexico-grown businesses,” Lujan Grisham said in a Thursday statement.

Lujan Grisham has previously backed policies aimed at increasing the number of New Mexico businesses eligible to bid on government contracts, such as the Buy New Mexico initiative started in 2019 that upped the quantity of businesses registered to get notifications on upcoming contract awards.

General Services Department spokesman Thom Cole said that 1,795 businesses are certified as New Mexican-resident businesses and are eligible to receive the bidding preference.

Though it’s unclear how much more money might flow to New Mexico-based businesses under the proposed legislation, Cole said it could be a significant amount since the state spends billions of dollars each year.

Similarly, Cole said there have been increased business development on tribal land in the past several decades and the change in the procurement code to allow businesses on tribal land to receive the in-state bidding preference could net significant money for those establishments.

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black said the chamber is in support of the bill.

“We’re very supportive of efforts to promote more contracting opportunities and business opportunities for New Mexico businesses, New Mexico small businesses in particular, so we do think that it’s very much needed,” Black said. “There’s a lot of work to be done in this space and this is a good first step in that direction.”

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