Businesses are the backbone of the community. They are vital to the health of any community for several reasons.
Today, let’s focus on one primary issue of importance in relation to businesses: the creation of jobs. When businesses thrive, the number of jobs and the wages paid to employees increase. We saw this recently in our own state with the rise in oil prices. Job opportunities and wages, across many sectors, increased in those areas impacted.
We see this in communities that are expanding economically across the country as well. Previous articles have mentioned Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and their successes as an example.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions recently released its Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (see table) for the fourth quarter of 2014. Doña Ana County was ranked 20th out of the 35 counties in our state in terms of average weekly earnings. Minimum-wage jobs, even at the new wage rate, did nothing to change that outcome. It is imperative that in our community we have elected leaders that focus on the opportunities to grow jobs. They must champion policies and practices that encourage the growth and expansion of existing businesses and the attraction of new ones. They must encourage those in our community who could be entrepreneurs by creating an environment for their success. It can no longer be a philosophical discussion. We need a detailed plan with actionable items and measurable outcomes.
To accomplish this, we must all work together. This type of change eliminates the need to raise the GRT. There will be no need for additional minimum wage increases and the unemployed and the underemployed will benefit greatly.
To that end, the Greater Las Cruces Chamber announced at the beginning of the year that its threeyear strategic plan includes the recruitment, training and endorsement of pro-business candidates. To facilitate that activity, the Chamber is excited to announce the formation of a Political Action Committee, or PAC. We have researched and found this to be a very effective tool for Chambers across the nation to positively impact their communities.
The newly formed PAC called Create Jobs Doña Ana will be used to support pro-business policies and candidates with the end goal of creating more and better jobs in Doña Ana County.
This PAC, in addition to the candidates’ training we will continue to offer and our ongoing advocacy work on behalf of the business community, will ensure a focus on the issues that impact both jobs and the quality of life they support.