Senate bill aims to keep money in New Mexico, create jobs

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A bipartisan bill going before legislators in Santa Fe would require that each state agency contract out a third of it’s business to local companies. Senate Bill 18, or the Resident Business Set Aside Act, is currently in a Senate Judiciary Committee. Legislators believe that it will keep more money in the state and also create 5,000 to 7,000 jobs.

The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Whip, Democrat Michael Padilla and Republican Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes. According to Senator Padilla, right now only12 to 15 percent of all the state contracts go to a New Mexico business. That means 85 percent or so goes to an out of state business. If passed, state agencies would have to set aside a third of their projects to be bid on by an established and qualified New Mexico business. The hope is that this could start showing progress in the state within just five years.

“This is something that we cannot stop focusing on because New Mexico has such a critical jobs crisis,” said Padilla. “Senate Bill 18 of the Resident Business Set Aside for 33 percent of state contractors it’s really going to seal that gap and to really turn around the New Mexico economy.”

This is the second time for this bill to appear before legislators. It stalled about two years ago, but Senator Padilla is confident it will make it to Governor Susana Martinez’s desk this time around.

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