AGC New Mexico strongly supports Senate Bill 19, In-State Preference
A Strong In-State Preference Law Will Strengthen Our Economy
An Op-Ed by Shad James, Executive Vice President, Jaynes Corporation and President of the Board of Directors of the AGC New Mexico, and Vicki Mora, CEO of AGC New Mexico. Published in the Albuquerque Journal on February 17, 2011.
Although many industries have suffered in this tough recession, the construction industry has taken a particularly hard hit. Given our industry represents a vital sector of the economy, the quality of life for our entire community has been negatively affected from cuts in construction spending due to the economic downturn. And if times weren’t challenging enough, New Mexico companies have been further hurt by a broken procurement law that has seen countless state-funded projects awarded to out-of-state contractors.
The current in-state preference law that is supposed to help New Mexico companies actually harms them with numerous loopholes and exceptions that allow out-of-state companies to easily qualify for in-state preference. This has resulted in our hard-earned taxpayer dollars going to companies and workers from other states, especially during these tough times when our local companies have needed the work the most. The economic slowdown makes public works projects more critical to keeping New Mexicans at work and our tax dollars in-state. It has been very frustrating and painful to see local companies experiencing massive layoffs and even closing their doors because they did not receive the benefit of building taxpayer-funded projects in their own state. To add insult to injury, our New Mexico companies are penalized when they seek work in other states because their preference laws actually protect their local companies.
With a strong in-state preference bill a priority for AGC members, we have worked closely for many months leading up to the legislative session with the bill sponsor, our construction industry allies, business and labor interests, and related associations and community members. The input from this unprecedented collaboration and cooperation resulted in Senate Bill 19 which will fix the broken law, strengthen our industry and many others, create and keep jobs here in New Mexico, protect our state’s tax base, and most importantly rebuild our state’s economy. Senate Bill 19 will benefit all New Mexico companies by simplifying the current law with a strong and fair process to apply in-state preference consistently across all services, industries and types of procurement.
Although there is a long process ahead for Senate Bill 19, AGC New Mexico will continue to support our AGC members and all New Mexico companies that deserve the best chance to work on state-funded projects. As taxpayers we all want to keep our tax dollars in our state to benefit our economy – not the economies of Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and many others who have taken advantage of the broken law. It is clear that changes are needed now and Senate Bill 19 provides these crucial changes.
AGC New Mexico and our member companies will continue to stand strong for our industry, the entire New Mexico economy and our communities in which we work and live. Senate Bill 19 fixes a broken law, levels the playing field for local companies, and keeps your hard-earned tax dollars working for New Mexico.