With limited early voting here and expanded early voting rapidly approaching, I encourage New Mexicans to vote on General Obligation Bond 3 for Higher Education. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), which is headquartered at New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) main campus but serves the entire state of New Mexico, would receive $10.5 million to replace its outdated and unsafe headquarters facility.
For those that are not aware, the original New Mexico Constitution, ratified in 1911 and the basis for statehood in 1912, created the state department of agriculture. In 1955, NMSU’s Board of Regents unified a number of regulatory services and the individuals responsible for administering them under a single administrative organization: the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Our current building was constructed in 1973.
If the bond passes, there will be no tax rate increase. It is not a new tax or an increase in the rate of the existing property tax. If passed, the 2022 GO Bond to support higher education will maintain the state’s bonding capacity to address future capital improvement needs. These bonds are a replacement of general obligation bonds for higher education that are expiring or have already expired.
The 2022 Capital Projects General Obligation Bond Act would issue nearly $216 million in general obligation bonds for institutions of higher education, special schools and tribal schools in New Mexico. In addition to the $10.5 million for a new NMDA facility, the bond issue request includes $22.5 million for engineering facilities and $15.5 million for nursing, health and education facilities at NMSU’s Las Cruces campus.
We have simply outgrown our existing facility to address the required consumer protection and value-added agriculture emphasis to protect consumers and grow the New Mexico economy. It’s key to NMDA’s mission of promoting a fair marketplace, food protection, marketing and economic development; supporting the beneficial use and conservation of natural resources; and working cooperatively with the public and private sectors.
Previous phases of the NMDA renovation project, funded by severance tax bonds and general fund appropriations, are expected to be complete in April 2023. Phase 3 will include the replacement of the outdated original NMDA main building with the construction of a new administrative facility to address statewide needs, including space for additional regulatory, Healthy Soil Program and Food, Farm and Hunger Initiative staff. The new building and site infrastructure improvements will meet current codes for life safety and data, electrical and mechanical utilities.
NMDA’s mission is vital to the profitability of New Mexico’s agricultural industry as it feeds tomorrow’s global population, estimated to increase by 70% in the next 30 years.
Remember these important dates:
• Oct. 11: Early in-person voting and absentee voting begins
• Oct. 15: Expanded early voting begins
• Nov. 8: Election Day
Learn more on the New Mexico State University website at gobond.nmsu.edu. And remember to vote on GO Bond 3.