Think tank rethinks N.M.'s economic development

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By Sherry Robinson

When Think New Mexico speaks, a lot of us pay attention because its common-sense proposals often become law.
Past successes include full-day kindergarten for all children, removing the gross-receipts tax on food, and, most recently, increasing qualifications for Public Service Commissioners.
Now the nonpartisan think tank has tackled jobs. How can we not pay attention?
The “Results-Oriented Think Tank Serving New Mexicans,” as it calls itself, interviewed a wide variety of business people, bankers and economic developers to understand what works and what doesn’t work.
“At Think New Mexico we care a lot more about whether an idea works than whether it is left or right,” says executive director Fred Nathan in his report. After the nation’s latest logjam, those are refreshing sentiments.
What isn’t working, it says, is our hodgepodge of economic development incentives and our labyrinthine regulatory system.
Economic development in New Mexico and other states has amounted to handing money directly to companies; the results aren’t always what we want, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which studies entrepreneurship.

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