COMMENTARY: Facebook is good news for NM, but what about our community?

COMMENTARY: Facebook is good news for NM, but what about our community?

Little Toad brewing plant moves to downtown Silver City

By Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-Grant, Hidalgo, and Sierra), For the Sun-News

Earlier this week, Facebook announced it would expand its commitment to New Mexico by constructing a second building at its data center complex in Los Lunas. This exciting project will create up to 1,000 construction jobs and could employ more than 100 people once the facilities are operational.

Facebook’s investment in New Mexico was the result of years of hard work and negotiations. In the end, the state used a combination of economic development tools to seal the deal. Central among these incentives was the $10 million provided to the project by the state through the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA.

Funds are hard at work for District 38 too.

LEDA is New Mexico’s primary economic development program. Since 2002, 83 New Mexico communities including Silver City, Santa Clara, and Truth or Consequences have passed LEDA ordinances which allow public investment in infrastructure improvements, economic development projects, and retail development.

Importantly, LEDA protects taxpayer dollars by requiring businesses that receive LEDA funding to meet specific economic development targets.

In 2016, New Mexico used $15.2 million in LEDA funds to leverage over $256.8 million in private investment in our state. These projects have created 643 new jobs in New Mexico so far and they have the potential to employ over 2,000 New Mexicans when they are completed.

Forty percent of LEDA funds are invested in our state’s rural areas. House District 38 is home to two recent LEDA projects that hold great promise for our communities.

Last year, Little Toad Creek Brewery and Distillery received $100,000 from LEDA. Little Toad combined that money with $512,000 private dollars to build a new building in Silver City and help support 26 jobs.

Truth or Consequences Brewing Company received $125,000 in LEDA funds this year. The funds appropriated to the business will support an additional $999,000 in private investment.

As the saying goes, success breeds success. Projects like these stimulate economic growth in New Mexico’s Main Street communities. They help create vibrant hubs of activity, improve job opportunities for residents, and enhance the quality of life for New Mexicans throughout the state.

LEDA is administered by the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD). EDD has regional representatives assigned to all areas of the state, and they can help answer questions and guide local businesses through the LEDA process.

If you have an infrastructure or economic development project in your community that you think might qualify for LEDA support, contact EDD Region 5 Representative Christine Logan. Her office is located at the Arrowhead Center on the campus of New Mexico State University, 3655 Research Drive, Las Cruces, NM 88003. She can be reached by phone at (575) 373-5602 or by email at Christine.Logan@state.nm.us.

Programs like LEDA help us grow established local businesses as well as attract new industries to New Mexico. Maintaining the LEDA fund is critical if we want to compete with neighboring states for economic opportunities. LEDA has a proven track record of success, and I will continue my support for this essential economic development tool.

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