I remember listening to Mayor Berry a few years ago speaking at an annual economic development conference sponsored by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and Berry referred to New Mexico as the “donut” hole of economic development in the Southwest.
Berry’s message was that we could not do much to turn our economy around and we could not compete with surrounding states with no mention of really trying in any meaningful way and no suggestion of any kind of an economic development plan for Albuquerque.
Berry referred to his appointed Economic Development Director Gary Oppedahl as a “serial entrepreneur” when he appointed him and Berry was confident that his Economic Development Department would get the job done to help diversify our economy, get away from our reliance on the federal government spending and 20,000 jobs would be created by his efforts which never materialized.
During the last eight (8) years, Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has been a failure and has not attracted a single new industry to Albuquerque.
The only bright spot for Albuquerque’s Economic Development Division has been the promotion of “the film industry”, which was started under the previous administration.
The New Mexico film industry is a major and emerging industry in Albuquerque and New Mexico that is a key to diversifying our economy, and one which the Mayor and the Governor have failed to recognize, especially our Governor when she called for a major reduction in film industry tax subsidies.
Mayor Berry, his supporters and in particular his political operatives at the Economic Forum, Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Business Coalition and all of his NAIOP construction buddies have done well for themselves during the last eight (8) years thanks to Berry and have done very little or next to nothing to help diversify our economy and attract new industry and jobs as they watch Albuquerque and New Mexico continue in an economic death spiral.
Organizations like NAIOP and its membership can always count on Berry to deliver government construction contract work to them like the ART Bus project and not try to even attract private investors and industries to diversify our economy.
Smiles and public statements of false hopes and inflated expectations of Berry’s government funding for entrepreneurial projects like “Innovate Albuquerque ” and “ABQid” have not and will not end our downward economic spiral.
Political insiders and pundits are saying Berry is running for Governor of New Mexico.
My hope is that Berry and Oppedhal get a Dunkin Donuts franchise so they can make all the worthless donut holes they want and get out of City and State Government once and for all.
Following is an article published on May 17, in the Albuquerque Free Press written by reporter Dennis Domrzalski that explains how New Mexico has become the “donut hole” for economic development in the Southwest.
NM Left In The Dust While Other States Boom
• May 17, 2017
• BY: Dennis Domrzalski, Albuquerque Free Press
State’s Economy Relies Less on Market Sector
So just how bad has New Mexico’s economic growth been over the years, especially when compared to surrounding states?
The simple answer: awful and dead last.
Population figures help tell the story because population growth is based on economic growth and opportunity.
In 1950, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona had roughly the same populations, and Nevada had almost no one.
But by 2016, those states had left New Mexico in the dust.
Arizona’s population had increased nine-fold, while Nevada’s population has increased by more than 18 times.
New Mexico saw a threefold population hike during that time.
So why have other those other states, especially Arizona, boomed while New Mexico has basically stood still?
According to Matt E. Ryan, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, it’s because New Mexico decided to focus on the public sector for its economic growth.
The other states relied on the private sector and market forces to drive their economies.
Ryan laid out the differences between New Mexico’s and Arizona’s divergent paths in a column last year for ABQ Free Press.
The piece was based on his 2010 study of the two states.
“Fifty years ago, Arizona’s economy was roughly 50 percent larger than New Mexico’s. Today, the size difference is over 230 percent,” Ryan wrote. “How could remarkably similar states within the same country experience such a disparity in economic fortunes?
“In short, one possible explanation for the difference in economic outcomes between the two areas is a difference in the degree to which each state’s economy relies on markets to coordinate economic activity.”
Here’s more of Ryan’s 2016 column:
“The original study showed a persistent and distinct gap in the percentage of each state’s economic activity derived from private sector, with Arizona relying on the private sector to generate growth to a larger degree than New Mexico.
“The most recent data shows that this gap has remained since the original study; in fact, with updated data on the years included in the original analysis, the reported discrepancy in private sector dependence was, if anything, understated.
In short: Arizona’s economy relies more heavily on the market sector than does New Mexico’s.
“Another means of assessing the degree to which economies embrace markets are economic freedom indices.
The Fraser Institute releases annually ‘The Economic Freedom of North America,’ a three-pronged analysis of every American state and Canadian province that, through assessing the size of government, state-specific taxation, and labor market freedom, yields a single number that captures the degree to which states and provinces embrace the market system relative to the rest.
“In 1981, the first year of their rankings, Arizona was rated as the eighth freest state and province of the 60 in the survey, while New Mexico was 36th. The bad for New Mexico only got worse.
New Mexico steadily regressed relative to the rest of America and Canada, and ranked 46th in North America in 2013, the most recent data available.
“By comparison, Arizona, which saw its ranking slide into the mid-20s by the early 1990s, has since regained its standing and sits at 9th.
While New Mexico’s rating specific to taxation only trails Arizona’s by a relatively slight margin, the size of government rating along with the labor market freedom rating contribute to New Mexico’s low result.
“Markets are how people become rich.
The economic story of Arizona and New Mexico, and their divergence over the last half-century, is yet another example of this persistent economic truth.”