SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico businesses are struggling and tens of thousands of people are out of work in the state because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, October 9, the New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight Committee went over their plans and the changes they have made to help turn the economy around once the pandemic is over.

Secretary Alicia Keyes of the Economic Development Department presented her cuts and changes while also comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the Great Recession and the impact it had on the state. She hopes the changes can help the state recover faster from the pandemic than the decade long recovery of the recession.

“As some of you know economic development was one of the three major agencies to receive a budget cut for fiscal year ’21 despite severe economic crisis,” said Keyes.

Economic development is having to make cuts for the future, 5% for fiscal year 2022. When it came down to it the biggest focus is to get people and businesses back on their feet, especially jobs in economic-based industries, like restaurants and retail.

The economic development department will not be cutting funding in areas that are currently making an impact like the job training incentive program (JTIP) and the local economic development act (LEDA). Together, both programs have over $30 million in funding.

LEDA is expecting to bring in $545 million over ten years through one of their projects Ascent Aviation. “Before COVID the state’s GDP growth was fourth nationally and wages were increasing we really had this incredible momentum and I would argue that we still have it,” said Keyes.

Keyes believes right now businesses are looking to get out of big cities like Los Angeles and New York, and New Mexico has an opportunity to open their doors and allow them to expand. Chief Economist, Dawn Iglesias, says they can’t be exact with an economic forecast because of the many factors involving the pandemic. They hope to have a clearer picture in December.

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