LEDA Program Boosts Local Economic Development

By Finance New Mexico and William Fulginiti, Executive Director of the New Mexico Municipal League

Tucumcari’s Odeon Theatre, which received funding in 2015

Tucumcari’s Odeon Theatre, which received funding in 2015

The City of Tucumcari generates $110,000 each year for economic development projects from a local tax on gross receipts, and the community gets lots of mileage from it.

In 2015, the city collaborated with the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corporation to invest locally generated tax revenue in four private projects through a process allowed by the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA). Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Collaborative Model of Economic Development Draws Interest

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

As a legislator for the 9th District — the poorest county in one of America’s poorest states — Patty Lundstrom spends a lot of time educating fellow lawmakers about how their actions affect economic development at the community level. She understands these impacts firsthand, because Lundstrom’s primary job is to build the economy of Gallup and McKinley County as executive director of the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation.

Businesses and governments often operate in isolation, unmindful of how their operations or policies affect others, Lundstrom said in an interview with Finance New Mexico, and this can put them at cross purposes. In McKinley County, she broke with that tradition by introducing an economic development model founded on collaboration and peer support. Continue reading

Loans Help Atrisco Continue Educational, Cultural Mission

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

When the Atrisco Heritage Foundation lost a significant annual contribution to its Legacy Fund in the 2008 recession, CEO Peter Sanchez was thankful his foundation had an existing relationship with the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit community lending organization.

“We had started to forge a business relationship with The Loan Fund,” he said, “so they got a chance to know us not in distress but in a building mode.”

That connection was critical when SunCal, a major real-estate developer, defaulted on the loan it secured with Barclays bank to purchase 57,000 acres of land from Atrisco’s earlier incarnation, Continue reading

New Markets Tax Credit Program Benefits Low-Income Communities

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Business people who want to develop property in economically depressed New Mexico communities — or who want to purchase expensive commercial equipment for use in those communities — often lack the funding they need for such ambitious and capital-intensive ventures.

That’s why the New Mexico Finance Authority created a community development entity, or CDE, in 2006 to raise capital and fill funding gaps for large projects expected to benefit low-income areas.

To be eligible for CDE funding, a project must be in a neighborhood or tract considered low-income in the most recent census. Continue reading

Nonprofit Lenders Multiply Impact of Philanthropic Gifts

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Philanthropic giving is a $300 billion industry in the United States, and New Mexicans do their part every year to underwrite the causes that matter most to them.

According to one organization that tracks philanthropic giving, the top recipients in 2014 were organizations devoted to education; human services; health; animals and the environment; public-social causes; arts, culture and the humanities; international disaster relief; and religion or spirituality.

While they seem invisible within these general categories, nonprofit organizations that promote grass-roots economic development — The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST among them — also rely on private giving to support and enable individual entrepreneurship in our state. Continue reading

Bernalillo County Summits Develop Entrepreneurship

By Finance New Mexico

Los Poblanos RanchWhile Bernalillo County economic developers work hard to attract major industries to Albuquerque and unincorporated parts of the county, they understand that supporting the creation of numerous small businesses can lead to an equal number of jobs and opportunities.

This approach to growth has spawned a series of business summits over the past two years, each hosted by a Bernalillo County commissioner and highlighting a business opportunity or concern identified by that commissioner or the commissioner’s constituents. Continue reading