FROM THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced she will call the New Mexico Legislature into a special session on Tuesday, March 30, to take up a pair of economic and job creation items that were left unfinished in the 60-day session: legalizing adult-use cannabis and expanding the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA.
“I am grateful to those legislative leaders and members who have expressed enthusiasm about returning to the people’s work so soon after a challenging 60-day session,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “The unique circumstances of the session, with public health safeguards in place, in my view prevented the measures on my call from crossing the finish line. While I applaud the Legislature and staff for their incredible perseverance and productivity during the 60-day in the face of these challenges, we must and we will forge ahead and finish the job on these initiatives together for the good of the people and future of our great state.”
Lawmakers from both parties approached a balanced compromise measure in the final hours of the 60-day session. With general across-the-aisle agreement on the importance of the legalization initiative, the governor intends to see through final passage of this potentially significant economic driver, which is estimated to create over 11,000 jobs, and ensure New Mexico is not left behind as more and more states adopt adult-use cannabis legalization.
LEDA job creation expansion
This initiative, introduced in the 60-day session, would make New Mexico more competitive and allow the state Economic Development Department to work with local governments through the LEDA fund to provide more assistance to major job-creating projects that would have a significant economic impact. The bill would allow a portion of some state and local gross receipts tax and compensating revenue from the construction of large projects (more than $350 million) to be placed into the LEDA fund to help with recruitment of those large projects and to replenish the assistance for smaller projects. All local governments affected must agree to the revenue sharing.
“One thing we have learned about job creation in our state’s recent history is that we can’t keep doing exactly the same things from the same old playbook,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “LEDA is already a winner for New Mexico jobs and companies large and small across our state. For New Mexico families and for our economy to thrive, we need to think differently, and this new initiative will give us even more options to create higher-paying jobs and diversify the economy.”
It will be the third special session of the Legislature the governor has called.
The first, in June 2020, encompassed an emergency agenda set by the governor to ensure state solvency after the pandemic cratered the oil market; establish emergency small business support programs; require all law enforcement officers to wear body cameras; and authorize a bipartisan state Civil Rights Commission to analyze and make recommendations to the Legislature and governor.
The second, in November 2020, included taking up a $330 million emergency relief package for New Mexico businesses and individuals who were affected by the economic upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.