Unintended Consequences: Fraud Against Taxpayers Law Works Against Economic Development

By Randy S. Bartell, Shareholder, Montgomery & Andrews Law Firm

Well-intentioned laws are known to backfire and cause more harm than healing. And when good laws go bad, the taxpayer can suffer.

The New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA) is an example of such legislation. Passed in 2011 to address the theft of state and local taxpayer dollars through fraudulent activity, the law contains provisions that protect people from retaliation for reporting such crimes.

The irony is that taxpayers whose interests are protected by FATA may be liable for punitive damages awarded to a public employee who reported, testified about or furthered a Fraud Against Taxpayers action. Continue reading

Woodworking Business Gets Startup Help from Accion

By Metta Smith, Vice President of Lending and Client Services, Accion

Ohel Chillon

Ohel Chillon; photos courtesy Antigua Woodwork

It’s a common conundrum for startups: The business needs money to grow, but it’s too new and untested to qualify for a loan from many traditional lenders.

But, as Regina Baca and Ohel Chillon of Antigua Woodwork discovered three months after starting their business in 2014, Accion is willing to take a chance on fledgling enterprises like theirs. The Albuquerque couple took out a loan in December of that year to purchase equipment critical to their operation. Continue reading

Nonlinear Model Helps Businesses Prep for Rapid Growth

Business growth

By Finance New Mexico

New Mexico entrepreneurs who want to start a business or take an existing venture to the next level need a model that allows the business to “scale up” — to improve profitability as demand increases for its product or service.

A scalable model attracts more investors because it equips the business to adapt to a larger market without significantly increasing its costs. And that has a positive impact on economic development in New Mexico, where a home-grown business that’s prepared for exponential growth brings more out-of-state money home. Continue reading

Stronger State Economy Requires Shared Vision and Collaboration

William F. Fulginiti, Executive Director, New Mexico Municipal League

By William F. Fulginiti, Executive Director, New Mexico Municipal League

As elected city leaders, New Mexico Municipal League members understand the importance of creating jobs in a state where recovery from the 2008-2009 recession has been slow at best.

Because the Municipal League represents the state’s 106 cities, towns and villages — from small towns like Tatum and Chama to urban hubs like Albuquerque and Las Cruces — we have a statewide perspective on economic development. That’s why the league has taken a leadership role in initiatives that stimulate job creation in every corner of this diverse state.

As league director, I’ve had the privilege of serving on several boards, councils and committees dedicated to strengthening the state’s economy. Continue reading

Written Terms: The First Step Toward Avoiding Disputes

Signing a contract

By Finance New Mexico

A legal contract that spells out the responsibilities and relationships of partners in a business venture protects the interests of all parties involved, and it can guard against the messy disputes that can potentially sever friendships and family ties when an entrepreneur relies on friends and relatives to be his initial investors or workers and things don’t turn out as expected.

A term sheet can serve as a template and preliminary document for such a contract. Commonly used by professional investors when negotiating their involvement in a business venture, a term sheet can also be used by small-business owners to start discussions of investment and responsibility terms with family members. Continue reading

Court Ruling Shows Covenants Will Be Interpreted Narrowly

John Campbell

John Campbell

By Lawrence M. Wells and John S. Campbell, attorneys at Montgomery & Andrews, P.A.

A ruling by the New Mexico Court of Appeals this spring over homeowners’ rights to keep chickens as pets, despite a community covenant restriction against keeping poultry, has ramifications for property owners, including those in business condominium associations and other business developments.

The appellate court in March reversed a 2014 trial court decision that Eldorado residents who kept chickens as pets in their backyards violated the community’s covenants against raising poultry. It did so on the grounds that the covenant language was ambiguous enough to be interpreted in more than one way, and should be interpreted expansively. Continue reading

The Loan Fund to Expand Services to the State’s Creative Entrepreneurs

Creative Entrepreneurs

By Finance New Mexico

In the first 15 months of its CreativeFund program, The Loan Fund helped more than 100 creative entrepreneurs in Albuquerque and Santa Fe secure a loan or receive training or advice to help turn their creative talents into successful business ventures.

The program has been so successful, in fact, that The Loan Fund is planning to expand its offerings statewide. Continue reading

Film-Friendly Businesses Can Help Diversify State’s Economy

Marisa Jimenez

Marisa Jimenez at Santa Fe Studios

By Finance New Mexico

Marisa Xochtl Jimenez hasn’t lived in New Mexico for long, but the director of operations for Santa Fe Studios is already passionate about bringing jobs to the state.

Her area of expertise is film production; she manages one of the nation’s most prolific independent film studios and is part of the management team of MBS3, a global equipment services and management company associated with the film industry. Jimenez sees abundant opportunities for gung-ho, flexible, friendly and dependable New Mexico entrepreneurs to prosper in this growing industry if they’re willing to accommodate its nontraditional needs and long hours.

“New Mexico has welcomed the film industry with rebates and tax incentives since the 1990s,” Jimenez said. “And although we have world-class facilities, we still need to continue to train, grow and develop in order to remain a competitive state for productions to want to film in New Mexico.” Continue reading

PNM Investments Drive Economic Development Initiatives

By Agnes Noonan, President, WESST

By Agnes Noonan, President, WESST

PNM and the PNM Resources Foundation contribute more than $3 million to New Mexico nonprofits and community partners each year to support economic, educational and environmental initiatives in the communities the company serves.

One of its core partnerships is with WESST, a non-profit small-business development organization committed to cultivating entrepreneurship throughout the state through training, consulting, incubation and lending.

“Through our economic vitality giving efforts, we focus on economic-development collaborations, support of local chambers (of commerce) and providing assistance to low-income-qualified families through programs that increase their energy efficiency options and reduce their utility bills,” said Amy M. Miller, director of community, environment and local government for PNM. Continue reading

Rural Communities See Growth Through Commercial Kitchen Incubators

The Mixing Bowl; photo courtesy Rio Grande Cuisine

By Finance New Mexico

Creativity is simmering at commercial-kitchen incubators in New Mexico, and leaders in the food-based-business movement want to turn the heat up under this promising economic-development sector.

Chris Madrid, director of economic development for Rio Arriba County, sees food-based entrepreneurism as a way to reverse population loss and economic decline in the state’s rural areas — and to offset “leakage” of money to other states that produce more than 90 percent of the food consumed in New Mexico. Continue reading