The New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (ACI) led a panel of business leaders and experts who testified July 8 on issues with New Mexico’s procurement procedures.
Concerns were raised that major opportunities are being lost for local businesses when the state government spends tax dollars outside New Mexico.
Dr. Beverlee McClure, ACI’s President and CEO, explained that the presentation was intended to empower the committee to take action on a key issue that is costing New Mexico jobs.
“When the state government spends money in New Mexico, that money stays here, creating jobs and opportunities for New Mexicans and ultimately generating even more revenue for the state,” she said. “In the end, everybody wins. But when we spend it outside the state, it’s gone—no more opportunities for New Mexicans, no return on our investment, no hope of creating more jobs or revenue.”
Some New Mexicans have raised concerns over the fact that the Tourism Department’s “New Mexico True” campaign was contracted with an out-of-state advertising agency.
“We have incredible talent right here in New Mexico,” McClure said. “Where is the common sense in a pro-New Mexico campaign that doesn’t even live up to its own name? The state government should be helping to create opportunities for New Mexicans. Instead, it’s hindering their ability to grow and to compete.”
Anthony D. Trujillo, owner of New Mexico business Holman’s USA, LLC., is a member of ACI and helped bring attention to the issue as a business leader.
“Holman’s provides products and services that practically every state agency could use,” he said. “But without a procurement code that allows New Mexico small businesses to fairly compete, New Mexico is losing both jobs and opportunities. New Mexico businesses don’t want preferential treatment, we just want a fair shot at competing for the money that we helped generate in the first place. ACI is a great avenue for presenting these kinds of concerns, and I was glad they gave me the opportunity to present today.”
The committee presentation follows on the heels of a series of requests ACI submitted last week under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) for records pertaining to contract purchases by several New Mexico State Government departments. ACI asked state officials to provide “The dollar amount of contractual purchases…from companies with billing addresses located in New Mexico versus companies with billing addresses located outside of New Mexico,” for both Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014.
So far, the New Mexico Department of Transportation has replied, saying that the request is “broad and/or burdensome,” and that “The NMDOT does not maintain information in such a way to conduct a search according to the parameters of your request.”
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Tourism Department has informed ACI that it will respond within the 15 days allowed under IPRA. ACI will continue to investigate to what degree New Mexicans’ tax dollars are being spent out-of-state, at the expense of local jobs and opportunities.