Thursday, June 26, 2008

wait...who gets the Hewlett Packard jobs?

marjorie says...

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported earlier this week that Hewlett Packard was offering its 800 call center employees there the opportunity to relocate next year to Rio Rancho when their new facility is built here. You know the one. It was heralded with much fanfare last week by the Governor.

Trip and I reported on the news coming out of Colorado Springs for the New Mexico Independent. Trip had already included in his original story the details about what are pretty standard economic incentives given to companies who relocate to New Mexico. You know those also. In plainer language: transfers of tax money, or tax breaks--to benefit corporations.

In the case of HP:

The company could receive as much as $8 million to $10 million in state subsidies for training workers and more than $20 million in state tax credits for creating high-wage jobs, Economic Development Secretary Fred Mondragon said last week. The governor also will ask the Legislature to provide $12 million in capital improvement financing for the project. The majority of that capital outlay money will go toward constructing the building...

Anyhow, its business as usual. In a nutshell:

New Mexico offered an incentive package in order to compete for the Hewlett Packard call center. That's what States do--it's been going on for a long time. Many feel we simply have to do this.

Given that States find themselves competing like this, most of us are usually (somewhat) understanding of our economic development professionals and politicians who feel they have to
offer tax breaks and other benefits, like job training dollars, to bring us more jobs.

But in return, we ask for a few simple things, one being that the jobs actually go to New Mexicans.

But maybe we're just a bunch of simpletons. Because according to New Mexico economic development spokesperson Toni Balzano:

"There's nothing about our incentives that makes them hire 100 percent of New Mexicans," she said. "That is entirely up to HP. If they choose to move people here or choose NM residents, that is their call."

Balzano said the state hopes that the majority of jobs at the Rio Rancho center go to New Mexicans.

Balzano said that even if they bring outsiders in for the jobs, many of which are expected to pay $40,000 plus a year, just having the jobs alone will be good.

So what do you think? Is it enough to just have the jobs here, or should a multi-million dollar investment of tax dollars mean that New Mexicans, at the least, get a first shot at them?

cross-posted at SWOPblogger