SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) — Lawmakers are asking to create a new division in the state’s Economic Development Department. They think it’ll help to stimulate jobs in a large range of creative industries in New Mexico outside of film.
Senator Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) and Representative Reena Szczepanski (D-Santa Fe) are introducing House Bill 8 to try to give New Mexico another economic industry to rely on. They are looking to replicate the success of the film industry in other creative arenas.
“As we diversify our economy, we must not lose the heart and soul of New Mexico; instead, it’s time to embrace it: our creative industries,” Szczepanski said.
The bill calls for a one-time appropriation of $67 million from the general fund, and an operating budget of $2 million. The division would promote arts in the state—ranging from performing arts to architecture to software design; even culinary arts.
It would support educational and workforce training initiatives and help create public infrastructure to support these industries.
While some state leaders are cautioning this year’s surplus budget should mostly be saved for a rainy day, Senator Steinborn—member of the Senate Finance Committee—defended the money they’re asking for: “Our revenue that we have now is going to go away and we need to create replacement revenue to fund the state of New Mexico and so it’s incredibly important that we invest in new ideas, that we grow new industries, that we double down on our strengths…We have historic reserves. But we also have historic revenue and a golden moment right now to invest in new job creation initiatives and that’s what this is.”
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This bill is scheduled to go before the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Monday.
Lawmakers say the creative and cultural industry contributes $5.6 billion to the state economy and provides $2.4 billion in wages every year.