New Mexico: Crossing a border, finding a new business model

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
Source: Office of the Governor
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2015 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.

New Mexico is likely the most diverse state in the nation, and fortunately, we are geographically blessed. When companies are looking for a place to do business, I suggest they listen to the old saying, "It's all about location, location, location."

In New Mexico, we are currently exporting more products to more places than ever before. Just last year, in fact, we nearly doubled our exports to Mexico and shattered previous total export records. The U.S. Department of Commerce also identified New Mexico as leading the nation in export-related job growth.

This is the result of strategic international relationships we have built, coupled with bold economic reforms and our proximity to Mexico.

As we work to position New Mexico as a willing partner in our country's international trade efforts and as the key trade corridor for the movement of goods south of our border, we are seeing the benefits of engaging in the global marketplace. We have experienced 32 straight months of year-over-year total job growth for our strongest job gains since 2006. Furthermore, the mix of goods we export is diversifying dramatically, indicating new investment in New Mexico by companies looking to make their products here and send them elsewhere.

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For a state that has been so dependent on the federal government for revenue and employment, these are positive signs of growth that point to diversification in our private sector.

This progress is made possible, in part, by our efforts to continually build confidence and trust with leaders across our border in Mexico. We are quickly positioning our state as a gateway of international trade throughout the Americas, and we are embracing our newly found leadership role, which wouldn't be possible without the cross-border relationships we've built.

Taos, New Mexico
Adina Tovy | Getty Images
Taos, New Mexico
"We've cut taxes 24 times, reduced our business tax rate by 22 percent, curbed 'tax pyramiding' and instituted a single-sales factor for manufacturers."

I have worked very closely with Chihuahua Governor César Duarte and was recently in Mexico with President Enrique Peña Nieto to celebrate new infrastructure in Chihuahua that will allow for the easier movement of goods between our countries. We have committed to building a binational community along the southern border and are experiencing a booming corridor of trade. The once sleepy, dusty town of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, has been transformed into a bustling borderplex. Industrial parks that were once empty are now full.

Additionally, in New Mexico, we have lowered taxes to make our state more welcoming to job creators and knocked down unnecessary regulations that held back trade and dissuaded new investment. We are also investing in infrastructure to lay a foundation for economic growth along our border.

Knocking down barriers has been a critical part of New Mexico's new business-friendly attitude. We've cut taxes 24 times, reduced our business tax rate by 22 percent, curbed "tax pyramiding" and instituted a single-sales factor for manufacturers. We fought for a fuel-tax exemption that prompted Union Pacific to locate its state-of-the art $400 million rail hub in Santa Teresa and expanded our overweight cargo zone by 12 miles. Our ports of entry are now experiencing record-breaking commercial crossings each year. And a report by Ernst & Young recently found that New Mexico now has the lowest effective tax rate on manufacturing of any state in the western region.

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These have been bipartisan reforms, where Republicans and Democrats came together to do what was right.

New Mexico continues to grow as a leader in commerce, industry and international trade. It is clear that a bold, reform-driven agenda, combined with strategic cross-border relationships and a business friendly attitude, is paying dividends for the state's businesses and citizens. We are optimally located to suit businesses looking to grow and expand. Companies would do well to give New Mexico a strong look.

—By New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez