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          Front Page


Thursday, February 20, 2003

Gov. Heads to Chicago To Lure Businesses Here

By David Miles
Journal Capitol Bureau
    SANTA FE Gov. Bill Richardson is heading to Chicago to sell business executives on New Mexico and his photograph soon will appear in an industry-wooing ad in national publications.
    The new Democratic governor leaves for the Midwest today and the ads touting New Mexico's tax cuts on capital gains and higher-income individuals, like business leaders are slated to run in The Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine.
    Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., visiting the Capitol on Wednesday, praised the governor's economic development efforts. He called on legislators to support a job and business recruitment initiative he and Richardson have launched.
    "When you're in competition, you're trying to sell your community," Domenici said at a news conference. "This ad and other things are trying to sell New Mexico."
    Richardson's efforts to attract businesses to New Mexico already have included trips to Mexico, Silicon Valley and Davos, Switzerland.
    Rick Homans, secretary of the state Economic Development Department, said the trip to Chicago is designed to persuade Midwestern businesses to relocate to southern New Mexico and El Paso or expand existing operations there.
    Homans said he will accompany Richardson on the trip, along with Patricio Martínez, the governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua; the mayors of El Paso and Sunland Park; and economic development officials from southern New Mexico.
    Pahl Shipley, spokesman for the Economic Development Department, said New Mexico officials plan to meet with representatives from about 40 to 50 Midwestern companies.
    Shipley said the ad highlighting a New Mexico measure to cut income and capital gains taxes, which Richardson signed into law last week, will appear in next Wednesday's midwestern edition of The Wall Street Journal.
    He also said the ad will run in the western edition of the newspaper but didn't know the publication date. The ad will appear in the April edition of Inc. Magazine, Shipley said.
    Shipley said the ads would not result in any additional state spending because funds would be shifted within the Economic Development Department's advertising budget to pay for the spots.
    Richardson and Domenici called on legislators to spend $3 million on their Jobs First program, a job and business recruitment initiative they launched in December.
    "We need that money to supplement efforts of local economic development organizations all across the state," Richardson said.
    The money would go to a proposed nonprofit organization that would take over the Economic Development Department's marketing and business and job recruitment functions.
    Rep. Luciano "Lucky" Varela, D-Santa Fe, is sponsoring bills (HB 493, 494) to create the organization and appropriate the requested $3 million.