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Business incentives must continue

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — As mayor, one of my top priorities since taking office has been economic development and job creation, and last year was a big year for the City of Rio Rancho. In 2016, we welcomed two major business expansions via Safelite and PCM that will bring a total of 1,100 new jobs to our community with an annual payroll of approximately $34.5 million. These jobs will not only benefit Rio Rancho but also residents from surrounding communities such as the town of Bernalillo, village of Corrales and city of Albuquerque that will fill positions.

Safelite Autoglass is the world’s largest vehicle glass repair and replacement company. Since arriving, in addition to new jobs, Safelite’s presence has had a positive economic ripple effect. They have invested millions in upgrades to a vacant building, creating local construction jobs and are making purchases from local vendors.

These are just a couple of examples of the new jobs and significant private investment we’ve seen in recent years by attracting top-tier companies through new economic incentives.

Rio Rancho would not have realized these successes without bipartisan efforts, the support of Gov. Susana Martinez, and the state of New Mexico’s strong incentives that helped our community attract employers. And it’s working across the state in other communities as well.

The bottom line is that local communities are limited in what they can do for economic-based job creation without the funding support provided by the state. And in turn, the state has challenges with their economic development efforts without the support of cities, towns and villages. Keeping incentives available – and funding at current levels – like the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) and the closing fund for economic development projects, also known as LEDA, are essential so that we can continue to make strides in job growth and private investment.

As the state addresses budget issues, reducing funding for these critical incentives that helps bring prosperity to communities like Rio Rancho is not advised. Instead, we need to continue to build on these successes by leveraging our incentives to attract more investment to our state, to create jobs for the people of Rio Rancho and across New Mexico.

We’ve made a lot of progress and we need to keep it going. Let’s keep moving forward by investing in our incentives that drive private-sector job creation and economic growth.