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Retail Crime Fighting Goes High Tech

May 13, 2024

“Building a case against a man recently charged as an alleged ‘fence,’ who resold stolen high-dollar perfumes, purses and clothes, can largely be attributed to data collected by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association and its use of Auror, a retail crime intelligence and loss prevention platform that shares information between law enforcement and retailers…NMORCA was created two years ago through the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. It currently has more than 500 members, including 15 law enforcement agencies.”

With less than a week left, much of governor’s gun, crime package seems stalled.

February 9, 2024

“Public safety continues to be a top concern for New Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Maddy Hayden wrote in an email, citing the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s recent 2024 Voter Pulse survey. She noted that the waiting period bill was moving through the Legislature but said much more needs to be done.

Poll: New Mexico on wrong track 

February 6, 2024

As the end of the 2024 legislative session approaches, NMCC’s team is working hard as the Voice of New Mexico Business statewide and in the Roundhouse. Earlier this week, NMCC President & CEO Rob Black spoke with the Roswell Daily Record regarding NMCC’s 2024 Voter Pulse Survey, providing insight into the poll’s results for readers across New Mexico. The Voter Pulse Survey is conducted by NMCC annually and gauges what voters believe to be the most important issues for the legislative session.

What New Mexico Business Leaders are Pushing for in the 2024 Legislature 

January 15, 2024

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provided a great deal of insight to the Albuquerque Journal in the past week regarding NMCC’s priorities and concerns for the legislative session. Mr. Black covered topics ranging from CTE program funding, paid family medical leave, regulatory processes, and more.

Lessons from the Avangrid Merger Failure 

January 9, 2024

NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, discusses the lessons learned from the failed Avangrid merger, which would have had a $300 million benefit to the state. This instance speaks to the importance of streamlining policies that will encourage companies to move or expand their businesses here, so New Mexico does not lose out on future opportunities. It is also critical to not allow fringe groups to derail what is good for the state.

Skilled Trades Mobile Workshop Debuts at Los Lunas High School 

December 21, 2023

Be Pro Be Proud New Mexico, a program launched by the New Mexico Center for Economic Opportunity (NMCEO), which is the education, charitable and research foundation of NMCC, in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, made its first stop at Los Lunas High School on November 9th, 2023

Gov. Lujan Grisham to lead trade mission to Australia

October 22, 2023

The governor’s delegation to Australia includes a prominent list of officials, among them New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, Economic Development Division Director Mark Roper, Environment Secretary James Kenney, Avangrid Director of Innovation Enrique Bosch and New Mexico Partnership President and CEO Melinda Allen.

PRC examiner’s behavior raises concerns

October 22, 2023

Those statements raised concerns among some local business leaders about potential bias by the hearing examiners, who are supposed to remain completely impartial to reach a balanced conclusion about issues in the case. The examiners are now preparing a “recommended decision” on PNM’s rate request that will later be presented to PRC commissioners to make a final decision on the issues.

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who reviewed the hearing transcripts, said the language used by the hearing examiners raises concerns about “regulatory uncertainty” at the PRC, which investors and utility industry executives are closely watching.

“The hearing examiners’ comments come across as both antagonistic and prejudicial,” Black told the Journal. “This lack of professionalism has a chilling effect on economic development. Companies don’t want to invest tens of millions of dollars in a jurisdiction where their regulators, acting in a quasi- judicial fashion, behave this way.”

Lujan Grisham to lead trade mission to Australia

October 20, 2023

A month after leading a trade mission to Taiwan, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is heading to Australia.

The Governor’s Office announced Friday that Lujan Grisham is leading a business and trade mission Sunday to participate in the Asia Pacific Hydrogen 2023 Summit…The “official delegation” traveling with the governor includes Environment Secretary James Kenney, Deputy Chief of Operations Caroline Buerkle and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black.

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

July 2, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.
“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.
Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

NM lawsuit triggers national concern about surgical supplies

June 25, 2021
The U.S. and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Medical Technology Association and National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with a friend-of-the-court brief.
They urged state District Judge Marci Beyer to leave it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Environment Department, not the attorney general, to develop and enforce environmental regulations.
Creating new standards in response to the suit would “weaken an already strained healthcare supply chain – in New Mexico and across the U.S.,” they argue.

NM posts second-highest unemployment rate in the nation

June 25, 2021
Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the state high unemployment rate is due to a combination of New Mexico’s relatively stringent business restrictions and structural factors, including the state’s consistently low labor force participation rate.
Black said he expects the loosened restrictions to help lower the state’s unemployment rate by allowing bars, nightclubs and other establishments that have struggled to reopen at reduced capacity to operate more freely.
However, he said it’s natural for some workers to be nervous about returning to work after more than a year of caution. He encouraged the state to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which is offering 60 days of subsidized child care to residents who are looking for work due to the pandemic.
“Now, it’s time to re-engage and do it safely,” Black said.

One-on-One with Rob Black, President & CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

May 24, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, highlighted in a one-on-one article with the Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to encourage unemployed to return to work

April 29, 2021
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Black said changes to the state’s public health order that take effect Friday could encourage some employees to go back to work

State will prod umemployed to return to work, governor says

April 28, 2021
Black said employers that make their employees feel safe at the worksite will likely be the most successful in staffing up.
“I think that’s part of the message employers have to continue with,” Black told the Journal.

Recreational marijuana could attract younger workforce to New Mexico

April 2, 2021
“One of the things that a side effect of legalizing cannabis is, those young people who now live in California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who may enjoy recreational cannabis but don’t want to move to a state where they’d become a criminal, this will change that dynamic and I think it does make us more attractive to a younger workforce and that frankly is something that we need desperately in New Mexico.”
The business community had concerns about keeping workplaces safe once recreational becomes legal. But Black says the bill lawmakers passed keeps protections in place.
“It basically allows you to maintain what you have today,” he said. “So if you have a drug-free workplace, and you have a drug testing protocol, you can continue to do that, and you can test for cannabis and if it’s in the employee’s system if you have a process to deal with that, that still is legal in the state of New Mexico.”

Updated: As recreational cannibis legislation advances, New Mexico business associations consider impacts

March 31, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said legalizing recreational cannabis can help the state recruit and retain its young workforce.
“To grow and diversify our economy, we need to recruit and retain 20- and 30-year-olds to New Mexico,” Black said. “For those coming from places like California, Washington, Colorado or Arizona, legalizing cannabis in New Mexico may make relocating to the Land of Enchantment more inviting, benefiting industries across the spectrum.”

Business to lawmakers: We’re in a world of hurt

March 29, 2021
Last week, Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber, was hard pressed to sound optimistic during a Zoom address to the Economic Forum. More than one-third of small businesses have closed.
“We are not working in a particularly business friendly environment,” especially compared to the states around us, he said.
The first challenge is increasing the state’s working-age population. That group is shrinking, while the over-50 set is increasing. “That’s not a pattern for success,” he said.
Black urged the business community to think differently, focus on equality, build non-traditional alliances, and “learn to negotiate in a blue-state environment.”
An example of nontraditional alliances is that business and unions both testified for Muñoz’s economic development bill to encourage big projects to come to the state. It’s gotten no attention but is on the governor’s call for the special session.
We don’t have time to dither, Black said. “We were, and are, in a world of hurt right now.”

NM small businesses  ‘in a world of hurt,’ speaker says

March 24, 2021
NM small businesses in ‘a world of hurt,’ says Rob Black,
NM Chamber President & CEO
As the state economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Black said New Mexico should focus on attracting and retaining working-age residents by emphasizing the state’s affordability and natural beauty. Additionally, the state should try to provide existing workers with in-demand skills through job-training programs.
Black also recommended the state invest in its infrastructure, take better advantage of its proximity to Mexico and improve its overall regulatory environment as leaders look to rebuild the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“For this to work in New Mexico, we must think differently, we must act with urgency and we must focus on quality and work toward consensus,” he said.

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.

Little League hit by equipment thieves 

March 19, 2021
NM Chamber’s support for Little League hit by equipment thieves helps raise much needed support
Among the equipment stolen were baseball bats, 20 boxes of baseballs, three pitching machines, four chalking machines, bags of lining chalk, bases with stems and sets of catcher’s and umpire’s gear.
The loss is particularly hurtful, Santa Cruz said, coming after a full year in which practices and games were canceled because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, after learning about the stolen equipment, has reached out to its members in an attempt to raise money and try to save the league’s season.
Janae Amparan, the chamber’s director of operations and business development, said thus far the organization has raised about $1,000.

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.”

 

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

July 2, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.
“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.
Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

NM lawsuit triggers national concern about surgical supplies

June 25, 2021
The U.S. and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Medical Technology Association and National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with a friend-of-the-court brief.
They urged state District Judge Marci Beyer to leave it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Environment Department, not the attorney general, to develop and enforce environmental regulations.
Creating new standards in response to the suit would “weaken an already strained healthcare supply chain – in New Mexico and across the U.S.,” they argue.

NM posts second-highest unemployment rate in the nation

June 25, 2021
Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the state high unemployment rate is due to a combination of New Mexico’s relatively stringent business restrictions and structural factors, including the state’s consistently low labor force participation rate.
Black said he expects the loosened restrictions to help lower the state’s unemployment rate by allowing bars, nightclubs and other establishments that have struggled to reopen at reduced capacity to operate more freely.
However, he said it’s natural for some workers to be nervous about returning to work after more than a year of caution. He encouraged the state to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which is offering 60 days of subsidized child care to residents who are looking for work due to the pandemic.
“Now, it’s time to re-engage and do it safely,” Black said.

One-on-One with Rob Black, President & CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

May 24, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, highlighted in a one-on-one article with the Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to encourage unemployed to return to work

April 29, 2021
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Black said changes to the state’s public health order that take effect Friday could encourage some employees to go back to work

State will prod umemployed to return to work, governor says

April 28, 2021
Black said employers that make their employees feel safe at the worksite will likely be the most successful in staffing up.
“I think that’s part of the message employers have to continue with,” Black told the Journal.

Recreational marijuana could attract younger workforce to New Mexico

April 2, 2021
“One of the things that a side effect of legalizing cannabis is, those young people who now live in California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who may enjoy recreational cannabis but don’t want to move to a state where they’d become a criminal, this will change that dynamic and I think it does make us more attractive to a younger workforce and that frankly is something that we need desperately in New Mexico.”
The business community had concerns about keeping workplaces safe once recreational becomes legal. But Black says the bill lawmakers passed keeps protections in place.
“It basically allows you to maintain what you have today,” he said. “So if you have a drug-free workplace, and you have a drug testing protocol, you can continue to do that, and you can test for cannabis and if it’s in the employee’s system if you have a process to deal with that, that still is legal in the state of New Mexico.”

Updated: As recreational cannibis legislation advances, New Mexico business associations consider impacts

March 31, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said legalizing recreational cannabis can help the state recruit and retain its young workforce.
“To grow and diversify our economy, we need to recruit and retain 20- and 30-year-olds to New Mexico,” Black said. “For those coming from places like California, Washington, Colorado or Arizona, legalizing cannabis in New Mexico may make relocating to the Land of Enchantment more inviting, benefiting industries across the spectrum.”

Business to lawmakers: We’re in a world of hurt

March 29, 2021
Last week, Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber, was hard pressed to sound optimistic during a Zoom address to the Economic Forum. More than one-third of small businesses have closed.
“We are not working in a particularly business friendly environment,” especially compared to the states around us, he said.
The first challenge is increasing the state’s working-age population. That group is shrinking, while the over-50 set is increasing. “That’s not a pattern for success,” he said.
Black urged the business community to think differently, focus on equality, build non-traditional alliances, and “learn to negotiate in a blue-state environment.”
An example of nontraditional alliances is that business and unions both testified for Muñoz’s economic development bill to encourage big projects to come to the state. It’s gotten no attention but is on the governor’s call for the special session.
We don’t have time to dither, Black said. “We were, and are, in a world of hurt right now.”

NM small businesses  ‘in a world of hurt,’ speaker says

March 24, 2021
NM small businesses in ‘a world of hurt,’ says Rob Black,
NM Chamber President & CEO
As the state economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Black said New Mexico should focus on attracting and retaining working-age residents by emphasizing the state’s affordability and natural beauty. Additionally, the state should try to provide existing workers with in-demand skills through job-training programs.
Black also recommended the state invest in its infrastructure, take better advantage of its proximity to Mexico and improve its overall regulatory environment as leaders look to rebuild the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“For this to work in New Mexico, we must think differently, we must act with urgency and we must focus on quality and work toward consensus,” he said.

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.

Little League hit by equipment thieves 

March 19, 2021
NM Chamber’s support for Little League hit by equipment thieves helps raise much needed support
Among the equipment stolen were baseball bats, 20 boxes of baseballs, three pitching machines, four chalking machines, bags of lining chalk, bases with stems and sets of catcher’s and umpire’s gear.
The loss is particularly hurtful, Santa Cruz said, coming after a full year in which practices and games were canceled because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, after learning about the stolen equipment, has reached out to its members in an attempt to raise money and try to save the league’s season.
Janae Amparan, the chamber’s director of operations and business development, said thus far the organization has raised about $1,000.

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.”

 

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

Chambers of commerce take fight to organized retail crime

October 2, 2023

Local business organizations are trying new ways to fight organized shoplifting.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead over the past year to bring together retailers, legislators, district attorneys, the attorney general and law enforcement agencies across the state to strengthen the state’s laws on theft.

The chamber in September 2022 also launched its own New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association to serve as a clearinghouse for retailer photos and videos of organized crime in action that law enforcement can immediately download.

Chamber CEO Rob Black also praised an anti-retail theft law that passed this year, saying he has never seen a new law have such an immediate impact.

“In less than two months, 23 individuals were charged with felony organized retail crime,” Black said.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

July 2, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.
“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.
Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

NM lawsuit triggers national concern about surgical supplies

June 25, 2021
The U.S. and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Medical Technology Association and National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with a friend-of-the-court brief.
They urged state District Judge Marci Beyer to leave it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Environment Department, not the attorney general, to develop and enforce environmental regulations.
Creating new standards in response to the suit would “weaken an already strained healthcare supply chain – in New Mexico and across the U.S.,” they argue.

NM posts second-highest unemployment rate in the nation

June 25, 2021
Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the state high unemployment rate is due to a combination of New Mexico’s relatively stringent business restrictions and structural factors, including the state’s consistently low labor force participation rate.
Black said he expects the loosened restrictions to help lower the state’s unemployment rate by allowing bars, nightclubs and other establishments that have struggled to reopen at reduced capacity to operate more freely.
However, he said it’s natural for some workers to be nervous about returning to work after more than a year of caution. He encouraged the state to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which is offering 60 days of subsidized child care to residents who are looking for work due to the pandemic.
“Now, it’s time to re-engage and do it safely,” Black said.

One-on-One with Rob Black, President & CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

May 24, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, highlighted in a one-on-one article with the Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to encourage unemployed to return to work

April 29, 2021
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Black said changes to the state’s public health order that take effect Friday could encourage some employees to go back to work

State will prod umemployed to return to work, governor says

April 28, 2021
Black said employers that make their employees feel safe at the worksite will likely be the most successful in staffing up.
“I think that’s part of the message employers have to continue with,” Black told the Journal.

Recreational marijuana could attract younger workforce to New Mexico

April 2, 2021
“One of the things that a side effect of legalizing cannabis is, those young people who now live in California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who may enjoy recreational cannabis but don’t want to move to a state where they’d become a criminal, this will change that dynamic and I think it does make us more attractive to a younger workforce and that frankly is something that we need desperately in New Mexico.”
The business community had concerns about keeping workplaces safe once recreational becomes legal. But Black says the bill lawmakers passed keeps protections in place.
“It basically allows you to maintain what you have today,” he said. “So if you have a drug-free workplace, and you have a drug testing protocol, you can continue to do that, and you can test for cannabis and if it’s in the employee’s system if you have a process to deal with that, that still is legal in the state of New Mexico.”

Updated: As recreational cannibis legislation advances, New Mexico business associations consider impacts

March 31, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said legalizing recreational cannabis can help the state recruit and retain its young workforce.
“To grow and diversify our economy, we need to recruit and retain 20- and 30-year-olds to New Mexico,” Black said. “For those coming from places like California, Washington, Colorado or Arizona, legalizing cannabis in New Mexico may make relocating to the Land of Enchantment more inviting, benefiting industries across the spectrum.”

Business to lawmakers: We’re in a world of hurt

March 29, 2021
Last week, Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber, was hard pressed to sound optimistic during a Zoom address to the Economic Forum. More than one-third of small businesses have closed.
“We are not working in a particularly business friendly environment,” especially compared to the states around us, he said.
The first challenge is increasing the state’s working-age population. That group is shrinking, while the over-50 set is increasing. “That’s not a pattern for success,” he said.
Black urged the business community to think differently, focus on equality, build non-traditional alliances, and “learn to negotiate in a blue-state environment.”
An example of nontraditional alliances is that business and unions both testified for Muñoz’s economic development bill to encourage big projects to come to the state. It’s gotten no attention but is on the governor’s call for the special session.
We don’t have time to dither, Black said. “We were, and are, in a world of hurt right now.”

NM small businesses  ‘in a world of hurt,’ speaker says

March 24, 2021
NM small businesses in ‘a world of hurt,’ says Rob Black,
NM Chamber President & CEO
As the state economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Black said New Mexico should focus on attracting and retaining working-age residents by emphasizing the state’s affordability and natural beauty. Additionally, the state should try to provide existing workers with in-demand skills through job-training programs.
Black also recommended the state invest in its infrastructure, take better advantage of its proximity to Mexico and improve its overall regulatory environment as leaders look to rebuild the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“For this to work in New Mexico, we must think differently, we must act with urgency and we must focus on quality and work toward consensus,” he said.

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.

Little League hit by equipment thieves 

March 19, 2021
NM Chamber’s support for Little League hit by equipment thieves helps raise much needed support
Among the equipment stolen were baseball bats, 20 boxes of baseballs, three pitching machines, four chalking machines, bags of lining chalk, bases with stems and sets of catcher’s and umpire’s gear.
The loss is particularly hurtful, Santa Cruz said, coming after a full year in which practices and games were canceled because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, after learning about the stolen equipment, has reached out to its members in an attempt to raise money and try to save the league’s season.
Janae Amparan, the chamber’s director of operations and business development, said thus far the organization has raised about $1,000.

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.”

 

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

July 2, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.
“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.
Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

NM lawsuit triggers national concern about surgical supplies

June 25, 2021
The U.S. and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Medical Technology Association and National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with a friend-of-the-court brief.
They urged state District Judge Marci Beyer to leave it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Environment Department, not the attorney general, to develop and enforce environmental regulations.
Creating new standards in response to the suit would “weaken an already strained healthcare supply chain – in New Mexico and across the U.S.,” they argue.

NM posts second-highest unemployment rate in the nation

June 25, 2021
Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the state high unemployment rate is due to a combination of New Mexico’s relatively stringent business restrictions and structural factors, including the state’s consistently low labor force participation rate.
Black said he expects the loosened restrictions to help lower the state’s unemployment rate by allowing bars, nightclubs and other establishments that have struggled to reopen at reduced capacity to operate more freely.
However, he said it’s natural for some workers to be nervous about returning to work after more than a year of caution. He encouraged the state to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which is offering 60 days of subsidized child care to residents who are looking for work due to the pandemic.
“Now, it’s time to re-engage and do it safely,” Black said.

One-on-One with Rob Black, President & CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

May 24, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, highlighted in a one-on-one article with the Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to encourage unemployed to return to work

April 29, 2021
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Black said changes to the state’s public health order that take effect Friday could encourage some employees to go back to work

State will prod umemployed to return to work, governor says

April 28, 2021
Black said employers that make their employees feel safe at the worksite will likely be the most successful in staffing up.
“I think that’s part of the message employers have to continue with,” Black told the Journal.

Recreational marijuana could attract younger workforce to New Mexico

April 2, 2021
“One of the things that a side effect of legalizing cannabis is, those young people who now live in California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who may enjoy recreational cannabis but don’t want to move to a state where they’d become a criminal, this will change that dynamic and I think it does make us more attractive to a younger workforce and that frankly is something that we need desperately in New Mexico.”
The business community had concerns about keeping workplaces safe once recreational becomes legal. But Black says the bill lawmakers passed keeps protections in place.
“It basically allows you to maintain what you have today,” he said. “So if you have a drug-free workplace, and you have a drug testing protocol, you can continue to do that, and you can test for cannabis and if it’s in the employee’s system if you have a process to deal with that, that still is legal in the state of New Mexico.”

Updated: As recreational cannibis legislation advances, New Mexico business associations consider impacts

March 31, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said legalizing recreational cannabis can help the state recruit and retain its young workforce.
“To grow and diversify our economy, we need to recruit and retain 20- and 30-year-olds to New Mexico,” Black said. “For those coming from places like California, Washington, Colorado or Arizona, legalizing cannabis in New Mexico may make relocating to the Land of Enchantment more inviting, benefiting industries across the spectrum.”

Business to lawmakers: We’re in a world of hurt

March 29, 2021
Last week, Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber, was hard pressed to sound optimistic during a Zoom address to the Economic Forum. More than one-third of small businesses have closed.
“We are not working in a particularly business friendly environment,” especially compared to the states around us, he said.
The first challenge is increasing the state’s working-age population. That group is shrinking, while the over-50 set is increasing. “That’s not a pattern for success,” he said.
Black urged the business community to think differently, focus on equality, build non-traditional alliances, and “learn to negotiate in a blue-state environment.”
An example of nontraditional alliances is that business and unions both testified for Muñoz’s economic development bill to encourage big projects to come to the state. It’s gotten no attention but is on the governor’s call for the special session.
We don’t have time to dither, Black said. “We were, and are, in a world of hurt right now.”

NM small businesses  ‘in a world of hurt,’ speaker says

March 24, 2021
NM small businesses in ‘a world of hurt,’ says Rob Black,
NM Chamber President & CEO
As the state economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Black said New Mexico should focus on attracting and retaining working-age residents by emphasizing the state’s affordability and natural beauty. Additionally, the state should try to provide existing workers with in-demand skills through job-training programs.
Black also recommended the state invest in its infrastructure, take better advantage of its proximity to Mexico and improve its overall regulatory environment as leaders look to rebuild the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“For this to work in New Mexico, we must think differently, we must act with urgency and we must focus on quality and work toward consensus,” he said.

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.

Little League hit by equipment thieves 

March 19, 2021
NM Chamber’s support for Little League hit by equipment thieves helps raise much needed support
Among the equipment stolen were baseball bats, 20 boxes of baseballs, three pitching machines, four chalking machines, bags of lining chalk, bases with stems and sets of catcher’s and umpire’s gear.
The loss is particularly hurtful, Santa Cruz said, coming after a full year in which practices and games were canceled because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, after learning about the stolen equipment, has reached out to its members in an attempt to raise money and try to save the league’s season.
Janae Amparan, the chamber’s director of operations and business development, said thus far the organization has raised about $1,000.

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.”

 

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”

New Mexico offering cash to return to work

July 2, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion of child care assistance, lifting of business restrictions and bonus payments address barriers that may have kept residents from returning to work.
“All of those things will be important to help people get back into the workforce,” Black said in an interview Friday.
Polling by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he said, showed that $1,000 return-to-work bonuses would be a powerful incentive for people without a job. The state of Oklahoma, he said, also saw strong results from an incentive program.

NM lawsuit triggers national concern about surgical supplies

June 25, 2021
The U.S. and New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Medical Technology Association and National Association of Manufacturers weighed in with a friend-of-the-court brief.
They urged state District Judge Marci Beyer to leave it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Environment Department, not the attorney general, to develop and enforce environmental regulations.
Creating new standards in response to the suit would “weaken an already strained healthcare supply chain – in New Mexico and across the U.S.,” they argue.

NM posts second-highest unemployment rate in the nation

June 25, 2021
Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said he believes the state high unemployment rate is due to a combination of New Mexico’s relatively stringent business restrictions and structural factors, including the state’s consistently low labor force participation rate.
Black said he expects the loosened restrictions to help lower the state’s unemployment rate by allowing bars, nightclubs and other establishments that have struggled to reopen at reduced capacity to operate more freely.
However, he said it’s natural for some workers to be nervous about returning to work after more than a year of caution. He encouraged the state to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which is offering 60 days of subsidized child care to residents who are looking for work due to the pandemic.
“Now, it’s time to re-engage and do it safely,” Black said.

One-on-One with Rob Black, President & CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce

May 24, 2021
NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, highlighted in a one-on-one article with the Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to encourage unemployed to return to work

April 29, 2021
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Black said changes to the state’s public health order that take effect Friday could encourage some employees to go back to work

State will prod umemployed to return to work, governor says

April 28, 2021
Black said employers that make their employees feel safe at the worksite will likely be the most successful in staffing up.
“I think that’s part of the message employers have to continue with,” Black told the Journal.

Recreational marijuana could attract younger workforce to New Mexico

April 2, 2021
“One of the things that a side effect of legalizing cannabis is, those young people who now live in California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who may enjoy recreational cannabis but don’t want to move to a state where they’d become a criminal, this will change that dynamic and I think it does make us more attractive to a younger workforce and that frankly is something that we need desperately in New Mexico.”
The business community had concerns about keeping workplaces safe once recreational becomes legal. But Black says the bill lawmakers passed keeps protections in place.
“It basically allows you to maintain what you have today,” he said. “So if you have a drug-free workplace, and you have a drug testing protocol, you can continue to do that, and you can test for cannabis and if it’s in the employee’s system if you have a process to deal with that, that still is legal in the state of New Mexico.”

Updated: As recreational cannibis legislation advances, New Mexico business associations consider impacts

March 31, 2021
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said legalizing recreational cannabis can help the state recruit and retain its young workforce.
“To grow and diversify our economy, we need to recruit and retain 20- and 30-year-olds to New Mexico,” Black said. “For those coming from places like California, Washington, Colorado or Arizona, legalizing cannabis in New Mexico may make relocating to the Land of Enchantment more inviting, benefiting industries across the spectrum.”

Business to lawmakers: We’re in a world of hurt

March 29, 2021
Last week, Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber, was hard pressed to sound optimistic during a Zoom address to the Economic Forum. More than one-third of small businesses have closed.
“We are not working in a particularly business friendly environment,” especially compared to the states around us, he said.
The first challenge is increasing the state’s working-age population. That group is shrinking, while the over-50 set is increasing. “That’s not a pattern for success,” he said.
Black urged the business community to think differently, focus on equality, build non-traditional alliances, and “learn to negotiate in a blue-state environment.”
An example of nontraditional alliances is that business and unions both testified for Muñoz’s economic development bill to encourage big projects to come to the state. It’s gotten no attention but is on the governor’s call for the special session.
We don’t have time to dither, Black said. “We were, and are, in a world of hurt right now.”

NM small businesses  ‘in a world of hurt,’ speaker says

March 24, 2021
NM small businesses in ‘a world of hurt,’ says Rob Black,
NM Chamber President & CEO
As the state economy continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, Black said New Mexico should focus on attracting and retaining working-age residents by emphasizing the state’s affordability and natural beauty. Additionally, the state should try to provide existing workers with in-demand skills through job-training programs.
Black also recommended the state invest in its infrastructure, take better advantage of its proximity to Mexico and improve its overall regulatory environment as leaders look to rebuild the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
“For this to work in New Mexico, we must think differently, we must act with urgency and we must focus on quality and work toward consensus,” he said.

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.

Little League hit by equipment thieves 

March 19, 2021
NM Chamber’s support for Little League hit by equipment thieves helps raise much needed support
Among the equipment stolen were baseball bats, 20 boxes of baseballs, three pitching machines, four chalking machines, bags of lining chalk, bases with stems and sets of catcher’s and umpire’s gear.
The loss is particularly hurtful, Santa Cruz said, coming after a full year in which practices and games were canceled because of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, after learning about the stolen equipment, has reached out to its members in an attempt to raise money and try to save the league’s season.
Janae Amparan, the chamber’s director of operations and business development, said thus far the organization has raised about $1,000.

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.”

 

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

New Mexico law enforcement and retailers discuss tackling retail crime

September 28, 2023

It’s a major problem costing businesses millions and inconveniencing shoppers. Lawmen and women, state leaders, and retailers met on Thursday to come up with ways to tackle organized retail crime.

Twenty-three different law enforcement agencies, and 30 different retailers including small businesses and big box stores, came together to learn more on how to hold shoplifters accountable. “We need judges to do their job when you all arrest those people,” said Rep. Marian Matthews (D- ABQ).

During the conference put on by the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association, leaders said organized retail crime costs retailers billions of dollars a year while taking away jobs. The goal of Thursday’s event was to create partnerships with one another.

Police and stores work together to combat organized retail crime

September 28, 2023

“Our retailers came to the chambers, said we needed help, and one of the reasons they needed help was the impact it is having on their employees and putting them at risk because there is a level of violence that was increasing in shoplifting in New Mexico,” said Rob Black, the CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is hosting more than 20 different law enforcement agencies and 30 different stores on how to work together.

They are now using a new platform to help fight crime.

“It’s a place where they can upload security footage. They can upload pictures of license plates. Law enforcement can see that in real-time. Other retailers can say, hey, that guy was just in our store and started to build those cases,” Black said.

Black was one of the people involved with the organized crime law known as HB-234.

Dannemann: Civics Helps Make Democracy Work

August 23, 2023

The New Mexico Chamber hosted the 2023 statewide National Civcs Bee on Saturday, encouraging young New Mexicans to take an interest in civics.

Carbon capture will benefit the state

June 21, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black provides commentary on leveraging record-breaking revenue from oil and gas to invest in CCS and hydrogen in the state to pave the way for economic growth and a cleaner energy future.

Taking a bite out of organized, retail theft

May 10, 2023

Anti-ORC bill, HB 234, was a priority for NMCC during the 2023 legislative session. The bill is already making a difference in New Mexico as evidenced by the three dozen ORC-related arrests that have taken place in the last few weeks. HB 234 goes into effect on June 16th, but the bill’s impact can already be felt in New Mexico.

Governor’s veto pen punctures tax bill that tried to do too much

April 1, 2023

Business leaders around the state voiced their opposition to HB 547, the Omnibus Tax Bill. This included NMCC’s Tax Policy Committee Chair, James O’Neill, and Vice Chair, John Tysseling, who wrote “The proposed House ‘omnibus tax bill’ squanders a unique opportunity for meaningful Gross Receipts Tax reform in favor of short-term tax giveaways that will not help grow our economy. The fiscal revenue surplus currently available can significantly address long-standing tax policy issues that make New Mexico’s economy less competitive for investment and growth.”

Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session

March 27, 2023

NMCC’s President & CEO Rob Black provides insight into the 2023 regular legislative session from NMCC’s perspective, stating, “Overall the legislative session was a good session for business and our economy.” Mr. Black discussed the bills NMCC supported and opposed that made this session a success. 

President & CEO, Rob Black, speaks on The Bob Clark Podcast about the 2023 Session

March 22, 2023

Today, NMCC’s President & CEO, Rob Black, was a guest on The Bob Clark Podcast and provided insight into the 2023 legislative session from the business community’s perspective. Mr. Black also discussed the bills that passed and did not pass that made the session a success for business. 

US industry groups urge EPA to expedite state authority over carbon capture permits

March 15, 2023

NMCC joined seven other business organizations around the nation to send a letter to EPA administrator, Michael Regan, requesting that the EPA grant states authority over their respective Class VI wells which serve as permanent carbon dioxide injection sites.

Letter to the Editor- Tax reform must make New Mexico small businesses competitive 

March 12, 2023

NMCC’s Taxation policy committee chair and vice chair submitted a letter to the editor the the Las Cruces Sun News regarding the harmful omnibus tax bill, HB547TRCSub, stating that the bill would hurt small businesses in New Mexico by placing further tax burdens and raising the cost of goods for them. This letter was also cited in a recent article from the Carlsbad Current Argus, stating that NMCC is one of the several business groups opposing the bill.

NMCC in the News: Governor proposes tax cut

February 12, 2023

NMCC President & CEO Rob Black calls HB 367 a win for New Mexico’s Business community, stating, “We believe these much-needed targeted tax reforms will save our small businesses money, make our tax code more competitive, and help retain and grow jobs in New Mexico.”

2 House Bills Compete to Tackle ‘Epidemic’ of Organized Retail Crime in New Mexico 

February 3, 2023

When asked how they would characterize the problem of organized retail crime in New Mexico, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black said, “Growing and severe. We have an ongoing epidemic of people going into stores, multiple times a day, stealing multiple times a day, and then selling that or trading those goods for drugs.”

Black came to speak as an expert witness in support of House Bill 234 but said: “I hope one of these two bills gets out of committee because it’s essential for our retail community and our customers. That’s just New Mexicans in general. That we provide our law enforcement the tools to tackle this problem.”

Albuquerque Sting Puts a Dent in Organized Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview Thursday such crimes are “a growing threat that is costing our retail businesses. We are seeing crimes that we once thought were petty theft turn into something that is more organized, with repeat offenders becoming more brazen and using firearms more often. We need better tools to address those problems.”

He praised Thursday’s multi-agency sting operation in Albuquerque, noting it’s one way to combat the problem. “That’s how we get things done — by working together,” he said.

4 Investigates: The Impact of Retail Crime 

February 2, 2023

“The consequences are, we’re going to see more businesses closing. We’re going to continue to see them be able to provide less services in our communities and we’re going to see less customers feeling anxious about going into the community and going shopping. And we should not fear going to buy some eggs at the grocery store,” said Rob Black.

The state is taking a massive hit. According to the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, it’s estimated New Mexico is losing $37 million a year in taxes, just from retail crime. That means thousands of jobs and millions in lost wages.

Anti-Retail Theft Operation Results in 16 Arrests 

February 2, 2023

Rob Black of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce said the organization started the Organized Retail Crime Association in September to work closely with law enforcement to address issues around retail theft.

“This is a very large problem and it is creating a situation where our employees and our customers are in danger from violence that has escalated over the last few years,” he said.

New public safety council to address organized retail crime in New Mexico

January 24, 2023

This week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham invited NMCC President & CEO Rob Black to join the Business Advisory Council for Crime Reduction, which was created by the Governor due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

“Nobody knows what’s going on more than the business community about the risks in your storefronts, your communities,” Lujan Grisham told an audience of business officials during a Tuesday event organized by the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

The governor then said during a Wednesday news conference she was creating the business public safety council due to widespread concerns from the business community about crime.

The governor also took the opportunity during the news conference to invite New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, who was present for the event, to serve on the fledgling council.

Black told the Journal that he would be interested in joining the council.

“If there’s a role for me, I’m happy to do it,” Black said.

Workforce emerges as a top issue for large and small employers

January 18, 2023

The NASC reports that the workforce is a growing problem around the nation, including New Mexico. NMCC plans to mitigate this issue by prioritizing education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff among other issues during the 2023 session.

NASC says that “workforce has emerged as THE issue among chamber members large and small.”

The report delves into causes and remedies. The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce’s portion of the report mirrors those concerns. We’ll hear more about them during the legislative session that just kicked off…The good news is that business is trying to expand the pool by reaching out to “any and all disengaged groups of adults and young people” (in Texas this includes inmates) and getting involved in school funding, childcare, housing, and pre-K public education.

The New Mexico Chamber of Commerce is focused on education and workforce development. Its long list of priorities includes education-to-career programs, collaboration between business and education, and a leadership program for school administrators and staff.

NM minimum wage could go even higher under legislative proposals

January 5, 2023

Rob Black, the president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday many businesses around the state are already paying employees above minimum wage levels due to a worker shortage.

He said increasing the minimum wage to $16 an hour would make New Mexico’s minimum wage one of the nation’s highest – the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., is currently $16.50 per hour – and would place a strain on businesses.

“Our preference would be that it’s the market that drives those decisions, and not government mandates,” Black said.

New Mexico’s Chandler on wage hike proposal: State’s minimum wage should allow workers to ‘be able to meet basic necessities’

January 1, 2023 

New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black disagreed with Chandler and believes that a large pay hike will hurt the state’s economy because businesses won’t be able to hire as many employees.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he told KOB 4. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.

“There’s a diversity of opinions from all perspectives. I think there’s willingness to have that conversation, but $16 an hour is frankly a non-starter for the business community.”

NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, comments on proposed wage hikes in New Mexico

December 30, 2022

New Mexico has the 15th highest minimum wage in the country but lawmakers have already pre-filed multiple bills to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage.  NMCC President & CEO, Rob Black, is concerned about the impact this kind of increase could have on New Mexico’s ability to grow and diversify the economy.

One of NMCC’s goals is to create a more competitive, investment-friendly, business environment. In response to the proposed wage increases, Black told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “The less mandates we have on doing business makes us more competitive. Those sorts of large increases kill businesses. It makes it very difficult for businesses to adjust. It makes it very hard to hire high school kids for their first job.”

Black also voiced his concerns about a wage increase negatively impacting NM’s incoming workforce to KOB 4 Eyewitness News and the New Mexico Sun, stating, “It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment. If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager at a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

New Mexico lawmaker proposes $16 minimum wage

December 30, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, believes drastically raising the state’s minimum wage will have negative consequences for the economy. He believes higher wages will force businesses to reevaluate how many employees they can afford – and what kind of workers they hire.

“It would really, really exacerbate youth unemployment,” he said. “If you raise that wage from $12 an hour to $16 an hour, they’re not going to hire the teenager who has no experience, they’re going to hire somebody else. That puts that teenager in a disadvantage going forward because their work experience now was pushed off for years.”

“Those employers that can restructure their business model will, those that can’t, won’t be able to, they’ll have to find cost-cutting other ways, or they won’t be able to continue to operate,” Black said.

Both Rep. Chandler and Black agree economic factors have already encouraged many businesses to increase wages on their own. According to ZipRecruiter, 87% of New Mexicans already earn $20/hour or higher.

Business leaders say state prepared for wage increase

December 22, 2022

Rob Black, CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association that state businesses have understood since 2019 that the increases are “baked in” and have prepared for the Jan. 1 boost, but he said that it still will have a big impact on employers.

“It is a significant one,” Black said. “Fifty cents is a big increase, especially with all the additional increases that businesses are dealing with now in terms of operating costs and interest rate increases.”

Now that the state is in a “pause” regarding mandated wage increases, Black and Wight said their associations will not want to see new legislation in 2023 requiring further wage increases in the near future.

Black said further mandated increases could put New Mexico at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states with larger economies. Texas has a minimum wage in 2023 of $7.25, Colorado has a $13.65 minimum wage taking effect this year and Arizona’s minimum wage for 2023 will be $13.85.

State task force recommends new proposal for paid leave

November 29, 2022

The task force is made up of representatives from advocacy groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and business owners. Some members said having a healthier workforce would benefit workers and business owners.

Other task force members said businesses would struggle with the cost. “The challenge is how do you implement it? How do you pay for it? That’s where there’s [sic] some differences of opinion on the task force,” said President of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce Rob Black.

Lawmakers, advocates discuss task force’s recommendations for paid family leave fund

November 28, 2022

Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, served on the task force. He said while the chamber supports paid family and medical leave, he believes it should be primarily employee-funded. Employers have to incur additional expenses paying for replacement workers for those who take leave as it is, he said.

“Employers are going to be concerned about a new burden and cost on their businesses being put on them by the state,” Black said. “I think there will be a lot of concern and anxiety about what this will look like.”

New Mexico Democracy Project Invites Candidates To Help Build Trust In Elections

October 30, 2022

NMCC has partnered with New Mexico First, the New Mexico Local News Fund, New Mexico Open Elections and New Mexico PBS to support the New Mexico Democracy Project. This initiative supports five key principles to build trust in New Mexico’s elections, including: honest election processes, civil campaigning, secure voting, fair oversight, and ensuring trusted outcomes. As a nonpartisan initiative, many current and former legislators and officials have already endorsed the New Mexico Democracy Project.

Health coverage ‘a key competitiveness issue’ for New Mexico small businesses

October 22, 2022

In a tough labor market, health care insurance may be just the amenity small business owners need to attract and retain employees. Fortunately, it just got a little more affordable in New Mexico.
“Looking at the role that health care benefits play is a key competitiveness issue for employers,” Rob Black, president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, told the Albuquerque Journal.
In fact, medical insurance is a must-have, according to 86% of employees surveyed nationally for a 2022 MetLife study.

Federal incentives accelerate New Mexico’s hydrogen economy

September 25, 2022

New Mexico has vast infrastructure already in place to rapidly build a hydrogen economy, giving it competitive advantages over many other states and creating huge economic development opportunities, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rob Black. That includes a mature natural gas industry to readily supply hydrogen plants, unique geology for underground carbon sequestration, huge wind and solar resources now under development to supply power for green electrolysis production, and an experienced fossil fuel-based workforce that can easily be retrained for jobs in the hydrogen industry.

“We’re already a mature energy state, which helps immensely in the logistical transition to hydrogen,” Black told the Journal. “New Mexico has a lot of opportunities to lead in local and national efforts to build a hydrogen economy.”

New Mexico Retail Crime platform catches criminals in real time

September 22, 2022

“We are seeing both an increase in retail crime, organized retail crime in New Mexico and in the region, but we’re also seeing an increase in the violence associated with that,” said Rob Black, vice president and CEO of New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “I think one of the benefits to this program is that it’s going to save our law enforcement hours and hours. This allows them to do it in one place very efficiently, so our hope is that it becomes a real powerful tool for law enforcement freeing up their time to do more on the groundwork,” Black said

There’s no silver bullet in crime, but this may be silver lining

September 17, 2022

“‘I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think part of what we’ve tried to do with the launch of the New Mexico Organized Retail Crime Association is one, create a platform that allows for a public-private partnership between business, retail and law enforcement,” Black said. “Where we can, in real time, share security footage, photographs of license plates of suspects, descriptions, et cetera, into a platform that law enforcement can then easily build cases with.’
The concept of collaboration, paired with technology, he added, allows the many law enforcement agencies in the area to avoid operating in silos.”

Officials: NM to join retail crime info-sharing network

August 31, 2022

 Officials called the news conference to announce that New Mexico is joining a 20-state network used by businesses and law enforcement to track criminal activity in real time.
The platform, called the Auror retail crime platform, offers an online platform that allows retailers to quickly share security video, cellphone images and other information with law enforcement.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative – called the New Mexico Organized Crime Association – will allow statewide and multi-state sharing of crime data.

How NM is looking to bring workers back

August 8, 2022

To target youth and career exploration, the department has worked with community and state partners on a project that is meant to teach kids in junior high school and high school about trade positions that are needed in the state.
“We’ve heard that loud and clear from the districts and also from the employers that those are the skills that they really want to see our youth have an early experience with and an opportunity for,” Martinez said.
The New Mexico program, slated to start next year, operates in half a dozen states across the country and teaches students about technical career positions such as “welding” or other needed trades, said New Mexico Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Rob Black.

It’s not shoplifting, it’s organized retail crime

July 26, 2022

 “During a recent meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee, the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce told legislators that organized retail crime endangers customers and employees and drives up costs. The financial impact is nearly $900 million, more than 5,000 lost jobs and $18 million in lost tax revenues.”

PNM inundated with companies seeking clean energy

July 24, 2022
“Most Fortune 500 companies are now pushing hard to transition to carbon-free fuels,” Black told the Journal. “We have abundant natural resources that make New Mexico well-positioned to provide it, but we also need a flexible regulatory environment to allow new technologies and investment to move forward.”
As New Mexico works to diversify away from dependence on oil and gas, building out more renewable generation is critical, Black added.

Talent contest: New Mexico employers describe fierce competition for hiring

February 19, 2022
“Employers have to be creative about the way they structure their business models, both in understanding where they get their best return on investment … but also about how they retain their employees and keep them happy,” said Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses have to be flexible, whether it’s work schedules or remote work, or benefits packages.”

Committee considers new plan on hydrogen

February 10, 2022
President & CEO Rob Black comments on HB 228, a bill that would help hundreds of New Mexicans get back to work.

Biden to halt oil drilling on public lands, sources say

January 26, 2022
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.

Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to

January 22, 2022
Legislative priorities for NM employers, workers to pay attention to – featuring NMCC’s priorities for the 2022 legislative session

NM Chamber CEO: State ‘well-positioned’ to take advantage of burgeoning space industry

July 26, 2021
With Virgin Galactic launching the inaugural commercial space flight, New Mexico looks to embrace a burgeoning industry that could bring more business opportunities into the state. Space tourism is shaping up to be a big component of that.
Rob Black, president and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said that will bring in a lot of high-wealth individuals.
“They will be in New Mexico for up to a week at a time, because they’ll come and do astronaut training, and their family will be there,” Black told The Center Square. “And their family won’t be doing astronaut training, so they’ll have the opportunity to go visit Truth or Consequences, hot springs or a variety of different locations in New Mexico, and I think that’s going to be important for our tourism.”