Editorial: Creative leadership key to economic growth

New Mexicans can rattle off the list of challenges our state faces in attracting new, growing businesses. There are quality of life issues like high crime and underperforming schools. There is the constant concern about the availability of water. And there are the business-centric issues of local and state licensing and inspection systems, double taxation (tax pyramid), and other issues related to business taxation.

For years, the fact that we weren’t as business-friendly and competitive as we could be was discussed at every organizational luncheon. But as a panel of national site consultants noted at a recent meeting of the Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance, the Land of Enchantment and the Albuquerque metro area have great economic potential.

Laura Gourley, West Region Director of Grant Thornton’s National and Local Tax Practice, told NM business leaders at the AREA event that successful regions have creative leaders who offer incentives such as training. labor costs, offsetting property taxes and expediting permits.

New Mexico, historically, has not grown at the rate of surrounding states and regions. While AREA panelists agreed that the Albuquerque area — and New Mexico as a whole — has the potential to attract business, they said the area needs ready-made sites that correspond to the industries being courted. We also need a workforce ready to fill positions.

AREA says a combination of state, local and organizational leadership has helped create nearly 2,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in capital investments through expansions in the metro area over the past year.

We must maintain momentum if we are to achieve our full potential, and that will require real collaboration from our public and private sector leaders.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned because it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than that of the editors.

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