Yes, the term is a harsh one, but RGF has long been a critic of New Mexico’s LEDA program. And, how else do you describe giving $325,000 in LEDA funding (on top of another $100,000 in waived fees and other incentives from the City of Santa Fe) to a distillery to expand its operations, thus hiring 14 new employees.
New Mexico obviously needs the jobs, but it will take up to 10 years for the 14 employees (expected to make $45-$50K annually) to pay enough income taxes to the State to pay back the LEDA money alone. These subsidies are an awfully-expensive way to generate a few jobs. Rather than hitching its star to a particular company, New Mexico’s economic policies should be focused on reducing taxes and regulations that hinder the creation of jobs organically throughout our economy.
Just in the area of alcohol, this could include addressing the outrageous price of liquor licenses, reducing high taxes on spirits and beer (although this rate has been lowered for micro-breweries thus spurring a boom in that niche), and reducing onerous regulations and criminal penalties placed upon New Mexico wait-staff and servers when it comes to alcohol.
Unfortunately, New Mexico remains dedicated to taxing and regulating some to the point of being unable to operate while generously subsidizing others.