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Our View: Think local

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By Ralph Damiani

Several years ago, the state invested heavily in bringing a call center to the Albuquerque area. They said they were working to provide jobs.

That center is now closed. Moved on. Jobs gone.

Recently the governor announced that Albuquerque would be home to a $35 million automobile factory for Tesla Motors’ all-electric, four-door, five-passenger sedan. He said the facility would mean 400 new jobs.

Today, state officials are expressing disappointment that the company that built the first mass-produced, all-electric car will keep its factory in California.

Who is really surprised?

One of the oldest – and truest – axioms of economic development is that you build the businesses you have rather than focus on new ones.

Those will almost always disappoint.

We wish this were a lesson our local leaders practiced better.

There should be more help for businesses already here. More money, more programs, more help.

True progress, true sustainable growth, will come from local businesses – not by trying and trying to bring in new ones that may not last.

Invest in the ones that have proven staying power, that are here now and intend to stay.

Our chamber, the LACDC and the county should be doing more to help these local folks and less gazing out toward the horizon.


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