State of New Mexico
House of Representatives
W. Ken Martinez, Speaker of the House
Rick Miera, House Majority Leader
Antonio “Moe” Maestas, House Majority Whip
For Immediate Release – February 6, 2014
Contact: Carla Aragón 505-986-4475
Bills to Create Jobs in New Mexico Clear First Hurdle
Legislation Recommended by Interim Jobs Council
SANTA FE, NM – Bipartisan members of the House Business and Industry Committee gave the green light to two bills aimed at creating jobs in New Mexico. House Bill 272 and 273 received a unanimous Do Pass in HBIC. Both bills are part of the blue print for job creation that was developed during the interim by the Legislative Jobs Council. HB 272 Job Creation & Economic Development, sponsored by Speaker W. Ken Martinez (D-Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, Socorro, San Juan, Valencia-69), makes several appropriations with the goal of improving economic development and job creation. The bulk of the appropriation goes to the Economic Development Dept. (EDD) for marketing and prospect-development programs; a $10 million closing fund; $4.5 million for the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) to make it permanent; and $2 million for cooperative marketing programs. Three ($3) million dollars is appropriated for the Tourism Department for marketing, and developing an online customer service training system for the tourism.
HB 273 Economic Development Grant & Program, also sponsored by Speaker and Jobs Council Co-chair Martinez, creates a $3-million grant program. It allows the Economic Development Commission, which is attached to the Economic Development Department (EDD), to make grants to local economic development organizations to hire economic development professionals (up to 50% of the cost), and to report on job creation efforts and outcomes.
“Our goal is to ‘move the needle’ on job creation in the next 5-7 years and this is a great start,” says Speaker Martinez. “These two bills are just part of our legislative jobs creation package for this session. With bipartisan support, we’re determined to meet our goal of creating jobs to return the state to pre-recession levels.”
House Bill 312 High School Work Force Assessment System, sponsored by House Majority Leader Rick Miera (D-Bernalillo-11), is also part of the Jobs Council package. Rep. Miera says, “The Work Keys is a national workforce assessment system that provides an alternative demonstration of reading and mathematics to meet graduation exit examination requirements. It provides efficient matching of talent, skills and competence with work and training which helps people find jobs, companies find skilled workers and our economy can grow and prosper.”
Senate Bill 161 Science Early Education Program sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem and Jobs Council Co-chair Mary Kay Papen (D-Doña Ana-38) establishes a five-year pilot project. The bill creates the Science Early Education Fund and appropriates $110 thousand to incorporate physics, computer programming, and chemistry into the sixth through eighth grade curricula. Under the pilot project, schools with 85 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced-fee lunch may participate.
The Legislative Jobs Council estimates that New Mexico needs to create 16,000 jobs a year for the next ten years to return to economic health (pre-recession levels 2007).
Both HB 272 and HB 273 head to the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.