In the News

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Invest in New Mexico’s early childhood workforce

March 20, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black discusses early childhood education and child care in New Mexico in an op-ed for the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Report: NM Health reform could cost thousands of jobs

March 17, 2021
Ashley Wagner, director of public policy and communications for the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said she’s concerned the bill could hurt economic growth in New Mexico just as the state is looking to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is going to be an added tax,” Wagner said. “… It just seems would it be counterproductive to getting us back on the path for economic recovery.”

Pollution control bill advances to New Mexico Senate Floor, oil and gas industry dissents

March 5, 2021

Amy Barabe, lobbyist with the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association said the trade group which represents more than 1,000 oil and gas companies in New Mexico “strongly opposed” the bill.

She warned the bill would “upend” ongoing collaboration between the State of New Mexico and the industry in developing regulations on methane.

Barabe was joined in opposition by other trade groups, oil companies and the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

Editorial: NM businesses need Senate to amend flawed paid-leave bill

March 5, 2021
As written, House Bill 20 goes far beyond the paid leave policies considered and/or adopted by most other states, cities and counties, including the paid-time off ordinance passed by the Bernalillo County Commission in August 2019. It makes no exceptions for small businesses. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it would apply to babysitters, a leaf-raker hired for a single day’s work or a mom-and-pop shop with one part-time employee. All employees would accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, capping at 64 hours annually.
Our business leaders have warned of the bill’s overreach, without affect. They have asked for middle-ground approaches such as staggering implementation to give businesses of different sizes time to prepare, tax credits to offset the costs of providing paid leave, a fair process for resolving disputes that doesn’t burden businesses and enrich attorneys with frivolous claims, recognition of existing leave policies as an adequate substitute, a statewide preemption of local paid leave ordinances to avoid a patchwork of differing laws, and most importantly, exempting the very smallest of businesses.
HB 20 also includes a large dose of hypocrisy – no public employers. It’s hard to fathom why the state shouldn’t subject government to the same requirements it imposes on businesses. Co-sponsor Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, says she and others determined governments generally offer benefits exceeding what’s in HB 20, so it was unnecessary. Really? Do all summer lifeguards, substitute teachers and others get these benefits?
The fiscal impact report doesn’t even try to calculate the costs it would impose on state agencies or private businesses. As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady would say: “How convenient.”

Governor Authorizes Expanded Business Loan Program, Tax Relief for Businesses, $600 rebate for individuals 

March 4, 2021
Governor Authorizes Expanded Business Loan Program, Tax Relief For Businesses, $600 Rebate For Individuals
“Small businesses have fought long and hard to keep their doors open and people employed throughout this pandemic,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Paired with the recently enacted $200 million in LEDA grants of HB 11, these measures provide a crucial suite of tools for economic recovery.”

Governor Authorizes Expanded Business Loan Program, Tax Relief for Businesses, $600 rebate for individuals

March 4, 2021
“Small businesses have fought long and hard to keep their doors open and people employed throughout this pandemic,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Paired with the recently enacted $200 million in LEDA grants of HB 11, these measures provide a crucial suite of tools for economic recovery.”

Oil industry leader: 2021 investement will be driven by policies

March 2, 2021
“Prices, which used to historically drive production, are no longer a major factor in terms of maintaining high levels of production in the Permian Basin,” he said. “It is really policies that are the only limiting factor for record-setting production and a high level of production to continue.”
Speaking at a Virtual Roundhouse session organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations, Flynn said the state industry has shown remarkable stability and resilience during the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting decrease in air and vehicle travel.

Proposed Overhaul of New Mexico Wildlife Agency Stalls

February 23, 2021
Legislation that would have overhauled New Mexico’s wildlife management agency stalled in a Senate committee Tuesday after a lengthy debate in which opponents warned that proposed changes to the distribution of hunting tags would devastate guides and outfitters and cost rural communities jobs and revenue.

Lawmakers shoot down bill to upend state-industry collaboration

February 23, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Association of Commerce and Industry, argued that the 2019 law made New Mexico a leader in the reuse and recycling of produced water, encouraged investment in produced water recycling and reuse, and created more regulatory oversight for produced water.
“Senate Bill 86 eliminates most, if not all, of these benefits, and sends the wrong message to business investors,” the group wrote.

Halfway home: Lawmakers hit crucial stretch

February 18, 2021
“We’re just concerned a lot of these regulatory bills are going to make us less competitive as we try to diversify our economy,” Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday.

Tampering with complex energy bill would do more harm than good 

February 18, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Association of Commerce and Industry, was more pointed: “SB 155 unravels and undermines the climate actions taken to ensure our carbon-emissions free future in a fair and responsible way… It also confirms the negative narrative about our state’s unstable regulatory environment by continuing to pick apart established policy and signaling developers to stay away.”

Environmental lawsuits bill draws criticism

February 12, 2021
Black said he’s concerned the bill (HB 50) creates an environment where companies, which are already regulated by state environmental laws, face a slew of lawsuits that stymie development. He said New Mexico routinely ranks toward the bottom of lists ranking state business climates, and said these lists help inform where businesses look to locate and expand operations.
Having a law that leaves developers subject to civil suits will discourage companies from moving to and growing in New Mexico, making it harder to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“This legislative session should be all about, how do we come out of COVID and position ourselves to grow our economy and diversify,” Black said. “And this bill … is the exact opposite of that.”

PNM Resources shareholders approve deal to merge with Avangrid

February 12, 2021
New Mexico’s renewable energy goals increased after the passage of the Energy Transition Act in 2019. Under the legislation, the state is required to double renewable energy use in the state by 2025, achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon free electricity generation by 2045. This deal could help New Mexico build a renewable economy from the ground up, said Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (now New Mexico Chamber of Commerce).

New Mexico Senate committee backs rent, mortgage relief for businesses

February 9, 2021
The bill drew no opposition. Representatives of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Technology Council were among its supporters.

New Mexico community solar proposal clears first hurdle 

January 28, 2021
Ashley Wagner with the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry said the business advocacy group was among those to support the state’s landmark Energy Transition Act in 2019, saying it has helped to attract new businesses and more economic development to the state. But she said the community solar bill as drafted could negatively affect businesses that are trying to recover amid the pandemic.
“The bill harms struggling communities and families because the true cost of community solar for the average family or business has not been established,” she told lawmakers. “How can any one of us push policy through without knowing the true cost and financial toll it will have on our most vulnerable communities.”

New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard Act advances in Senate

January 27, 2021
The second bill, Senate Bill 8, would amend both the state Air Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Waste Act to allow the state to pass regulations that are more stringent than the federal government’s. Under provisions of the bill, local governments would also be able to adopt their own rules, as long as they are at least as stringent as state rules.
Ashley Wagner of the state Chamber of Commerce said it would send the message that industry could not rely on a predictable regulatory environment in the state.
Sen. Gallegos, who said he lives 45 feet from a working oil well, complained that the oil and gas industry was being demonized. “I perceive this as harming the oil and gas sector. If we damage that industry, we also take money away from our students and schools,” he said.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce condones federal leasing ban 

January 27, 2021
In New Mexico, 56% of the state’s oil production comes from federal land. The ban is projected to cost the state $946 million per year in tax revenue and cause the loss of 28,000 jobs.

New Mexico Senate committee backs tougher environemental protections

January 27, 2021
New Mexico could enact environmental protections more stringent than federal regulations under a bill endorsed Tuesday by the Senate Conservation Committee.
After a hearing that drew testimony from environmental advocates who support the measure, and oil and gas and other business interests that oppose it, the committee voted 6-2 to advance Senate Bill 8, which would amend the Air Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Waste Act to allow rules more rigid than federal standards.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2021
Rob Black, president of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expected moratorium would be “devastating” to his state, while failing to reduce carbon emissions in the Southwest.
A leasing moratorium “won’t reduce demand for oil,″ Black said, but would merely move production from federal lands to private lands in New Mexico and Texas, where an oil boom is occurring in the Permian Basin. Only 2% of land in Texas is federally controlled, compared with about one-third in New Mexico.

People will power New Mexico’s economic recovery

January 22, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce launched into 2021 with a business-led, strategic plan for New Mexico’s economic recovery.
The plan, “Driving New Mexico’s Future: Empower a Competitive Economic in a Post-Pandemic World,” was unveiled Jan. 12 at the University of New Mexico Economic Summit.
In the goals and strategies for economic recovery, developing a powerful workforce to drive recovery factored high, as workforce issues usually do. The statewide survey of 700 identified workforce challenges as the number-one barrier to growing jobs in the state. Specifically, “More workers with in-demand skills are needed.”
The plan advanced three key goals with different strategies for accomplishing each:
–Increase the overall labor pool for employers
–Improve the number of workers with work-readiness skills and in-demand middle skills
–Extend opportunity to underserved communities and populations

New Mexico chamber CEO: ‘We need to do things quickly’ for economic recovery

January 18, 2021

“We need to do things quickly coming out of COVID just to keep businesses with the hope of being able to keep going,” Black told The Center Square. Many jobs permanently lost are gone forever because business models shifted online, Black said. “Part of what we have to do is quickly respond, retrain, help certify folks into different types of employment,” he said.

Business groups launch ‘Virtual Roundhouse’

January 12, 2021
“This is really a way to have transparent government,” said Ashley Wagner, director of public policy and communications with the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico launched Monday with a day of presentations by legislators, state department heads, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and business representatives. Two conferences also were held on the platform.
Monday’s presentations had 700 people signed up, Wagner said, with as many as 200 people participating at any given time.

Join in lawmaking through the Virtual Roundhouse

January 12, 2021

“The Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico is free and open to the public. The digital conference runs through March 20, and a one-time registration allows access to the entire event, which includes Q and A sessions with legislators, presentations from cabinet members and digital chats with event speakers.”

New website seeks to help the public participate in legislative session

January 10, 2021
“To help the public participate in the 60-day legislative session, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations have created a website called the Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico.”

Economic report charts path to recovery

December 9, 2020
“We want to make sure that, when we come out of COVID, we are not going to lose another decade like we did during the Great Recession,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the organization, formerly known as the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry. It advocates for business-friendly public policy.
The report, titled “Driving New Mexico’s Future,” identifies challenges regarding the state’s economic competitiveness, and offers 17 specific strategies in areas ranging from worker attraction to regulatory reform.
“Because of COVID, we think it’s very important that New Mexico comes out of the pandemic prepared, stronger and better than ever,” said Sayuri Yamada, chair of the New Mexico Chamber’s economic strategy working group.

For strained businesses, it’s not the time for paid sick leave

December 7, 2020

“We’ve heard ‘We’re all in this together.’ If that is truly the case, now is definitely not the time for Albuquerque’s City Council to force more heavy-handed regulations on struggling local businesses,” ACI said in a statement. “The ongoing COVID situation should not be an excuse to impose more costs on local businesses.

 

Pandemic brings more economic uncertainty in New Mexico

November 23, 2020
Rob Black, president of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, also painted a grim portrait of the future of the state’s restaurant, hospitality and retail industries without an infusion of state and federal aid.
“It looks like a lot of empty store fronts, a lot of empty mall areas,” he said. “It looks like a lot of people in unemployment lines and a lot of foreclosures. It will create a very difficult hole for people to crawl their way out of.”

 

Editorial: NM businesses need Senate to amend flawed paid-leave bill

March 5, 2021
As written, House Bill 20 goes far beyond the paid leave policies considered and/or adopted by most other states, cities and counties, including the paid-time off ordinance passed by the Bernalillo County Commission in August 2019. It makes no exceptions for small businesses. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it would apply to babysitters, a leaf-raker hired for a single day’s work or a mom-and-pop shop with one part-time employee. All employees would accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, capping at 64 hours annually.
Our business leaders have warned of the bill’s overreach, without affect. They have asked for middle-ground approaches such as staggering implementation to give businesses of different sizes time to prepare, tax credits to offset the costs of providing paid leave, a fair process for resolving disputes that doesn’t burden businesses and enrich attorneys with frivolous claims, recognition of existing leave policies as an adequate substitute, a statewide preemption of local paid leave ordinances to avoid a patchwork of differing laws, and most importantly, exempting the very smallest of businesses.
HB 20 also includes a large dose of hypocrisy – no public employers. It’s hard to fathom why the state shouldn’t subject government to the same requirements it imposes on businesses. Co-sponsor Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, says she and others determined governments generally offer benefits exceeding what’s in HB 20, so it was unnecessary. Really? Do all summer lifeguards, substitute teachers and others get these benefits?
The fiscal impact report doesn’t even try to calculate the costs it would impose on state agencies or private businesses. As Dana Carvey’s Church Lady would say: “How convenient.”

Proposed Overhaul of New Mexico Wildlife Agency Stalls

February 23, 2021
Legislation that would have overhauled New Mexico’s wildlife management agency stalled in a Senate committee Tuesday after a lengthy debate in which opponents warned that proposed changes to the distribution of hunting tags would devastate guides and outfitters and cost rural communities jobs and revenue.

Lawmakers shoot down bill to upend state-industry collaboration

February 23, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Association of Commerce and Industry, argued that the 2019 law made New Mexico a leader in the reuse and recycling of produced water, encouraged investment in produced water recycling and reuse, and created more regulatory oversight for produced water.
“Senate Bill 86 eliminates most, if not all, of these benefits, and sends the wrong message to business investors,” the group wrote.

Halfway home: Lawmakers hit crucial stretch

February 18, 2021
“We’re just concerned a lot of these regulatory bills are going to make us less competitive as we try to diversify our economy,” Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday.

Tampering with complex energy bill would do more harm than good 

February 18, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Association of Commerce and Industry, was more pointed: “SB 155 unravels and undermines the climate actions taken to ensure our carbon-emissions free future in a fair and responsible way… It also confirms the negative narrative about our state’s unstable regulatory environment by continuing to pick apart established policy and signaling developers to stay away.”

Environmental lawsuits bill draws criticism

February 12, 2021
Black said he’s concerned the bill (HB 50) creates an environment where companies, which are already regulated by state environmental laws, face a slew of lawsuits that stymie development. He said New Mexico routinely ranks toward the bottom of lists ranking state business climates, and said these lists help inform where businesses look to locate and expand operations.
Having a law that leaves developers subject to civil suits will discourage companies from moving to and growing in New Mexico, making it harder to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“This legislative session should be all about, how do we come out of COVID and position ourselves to grow our economy and diversify,” Black said. “And this bill … is the exact opposite of that.”

PNM Resources shareholders approve deal to merge with Avangrid

February 12, 2021
New Mexico’s renewable energy goals increased after the passage of the Energy Transition Act in 2019. Under the legislation, the state is required to double renewable energy use in the state by 2025, achieve 50% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% carbon free electricity generation by 2045. This deal could help New Mexico build a renewable economy from the ground up, said Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (now New Mexico Chamber of Commerce).

New Mexico Senate committee backs rent, mortgage relief for businesses

February 9, 2021
The bill drew no opposition. Representatives of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce and the New Mexico Technology Council were among its supporters.

New Mexico community solar proposal clears first hurdle 

January 28, 2021
Ashley Wagner with the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry said the business advocacy group was among those to support the state’s landmark Energy Transition Act in 2019, saying it has helped to attract new businesses and more economic development to the state. But she said the community solar bill as drafted could negatively affect businesses that are trying to recover amid the pandemic.
“The bill harms struggling communities and families because the true cost of community solar for the average family or business has not been established,” she told lawmakers. “How can any one of us push policy through without knowing the true cost and financial toll it will have on our most vulnerable communities.”

New Mexico Clean Fuel Standard Act advances in Senate

January 27, 2021
The second bill, Senate Bill 8, would amend both the state Air Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Waste Act to allow the state to pass regulations that are more stringent than the federal government’s. Under provisions of the bill, local governments would also be able to adopt their own rules, as long as they are at least as stringent as state rules.
Ashley Wagner of the state Chamber of Commerce said it would send the message that industry could not rely on a predictable regulatory environment in the state.
Sen. Gallegos, who said he lives 45 feet from a working oil well, complained that the oil and gas industry was being demonized. “I perceive this as harming the oil and gas sector. If we damage that industry, we also take money away from our students and schools,” he said.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce condones federal leasing ban 

January 27, 2021
In New Mexico, 56% of the state’s oil production comes from federal land. The ban is projected to cost the state $946 million per year in tax revenue and cause the loss of 28,000 jobs.

New Mexico Senate committee backs tougher environemental protections

January 27, 2021
New Mexico could enact environmental protections more stringent than federal regulations under a bill endorsed Tuesday by the Senate Conservation Committee.
After a hearing that drew testimony from environmental advocates who support the measure, and oil and gas and other business interests that oppose it, the committee voted 6-2 to advance Senate Bill 8, which would amend the Air Quality Control Act and the Hazardous Waste Act to allow rules more rigid than federal standards.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2021
Rob Black, president of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expected moratorium would be “devastating” to his state, while failing to reduce carbon emissions in the Southwest.
A leasing moratorium “won’t reduce demand for oil,″ Black said, but would merely move production from federal lands to private lands in New Mexico and Texas, where an oil boom is occurring in the Permian Basin. Only 2% of land in Texas is federally controlled, compared with about one-third in New Mexico.

People will power New Mexico’s economic recovery

January 22, 2021
The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce launched into 2021 with a business-led, strategic plan for New Mexico’s economic recovery.
The plan, “Driving New Mexico’s Future: Empower a Competitive Economic in a Post-Pandemic World,” was unveiled Jan. 12 at the University of New Mexico Economic Summit.
In the goals and strategies for economic recovery, developing a powerful workforce to drive recovery factored high, as workforce issues usually do. The statewide survey of 700 identified workforce challenges as the number-one barrier to growing jobs in the state. Specifically, “More workers with in-demand skills are needed.”
The plan advanced three key goals with different strategies for accomplishing each:
–Increase the overall labor pool for employers
–Improve the number of workers with work-readiness skills and in-demand middle skills
–Extend opportunity to underserved communities and populations

New Mexico chamber CEO: ‘We need to do things quickly’ for economic recovery

January 18, 2021

“We need to do things quickly coming out of COVID just to keep businesses with the hope of being able to keep going,” Black told The Center Square. Many jobs permanently lost are gone forever because business models shifted online, Black said. “Part of what we have to do is quickly respond, retrain, help certify folks into different types of employment,” he said.

Business groups launch ‘Virtual Roundhouse’

January 12, 2021
“This is really a way to have transparent government,” said Ashley Wagner, director of public policy and communications with the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico launched Monday with a day of presentations by legislators, state department heads, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and business representatives. Two conferences also were held on the platform.
Monday’s presentations had 700 people signed up, Wagner said, with as many as 200 people participating at any given time.

Join in lawmaking through the Virtual Roundhouse

January 12, 2021

“The Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico is free and open to the public. The digital conference runs through March 20, and a one-time registration allows access to the entire event, which includes Q and A sessions with legislators, presentations from cabinet members and digital chats with event speakers.”

New website seeks to help the public participate in legislative session

January 10, 2021
“To help the public participate in the 60-day legislative session, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations have created a website called the Virtual Roundhouse of New Mexico.”

Economic report charts path to recovery

December 9, 2020
“We want to make sure that, when we come out of COVID, we are not going to lose another decade like we did during the Great Recession,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the organization, formerly known as the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry. It advocates for business-friendly public policy.
The report, titled “Driving New Mexico’s Future,” identifies challenges regarding the state’s economic competitiveness, and offers 17 specific strategies in areas ranging from worker attraction to regulatory reform.
“Because of COVID, we think it’s very important that New Mexico comes out of the pandemic prepared, stronger and better than ever,” said Sayuri Yamada, chair of the New Mexico Chamber’s economic strategy working group.

For strained businesses, it’s not the time for paid sick leave

December 7, 2020

“We’ve heard ‘We’re all in this together.’ If that is truly the case, now is definitely not the time for Albuquerque’s City Council to force more heavy-handed regulations on struggling local businesses,” ACI said in a statement. “The ongoing COVID situation should not be an excuse to impose more costs on local businesses.

 

Pandemic brings more economic uncertainty in New Mexico

November 23, 2020
Rob Black, president of the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, also painted a grim portrait of the future of the state’s restaurant, hospitality and retail industries without an infusion of state and federal aid.
“It looks like a lot of empty store fronts, a lot of empty mall areas,” he said. “It looks like a lot of people in unemployment lines and a lot of foreclosures. It will create a very difficult hole for people to crawl their way out of.”