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New Mexico's mission: 'Get out from under the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.'

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

For over a century, New Mexico's economy has been too dependent on the federal government. Because of this reliance, the national recession and federal budget cuts impacted us greater than any other state.

That is why — since day one — I've made growing and diversifying our economy one of my top priorities. That means cutting taxes to level the playing field with neighboring states, slashing red tape to help mom-and-pop shops grow, and letting the world know that New Mexico is open for business.

Not long ago, New Mexico had a reputation for being punitive to business.

We used to punish manufacturers that exported their goods, charging them higher taxes than other states. Not anymore.

We had one of the highest business tax rates in the country. We reduced it by 22 percent.

We used to impose layers and layers of taxes on our manufacturers and construction contractors, making it more expensive for them to operate. But we curbed that practice, too.

We eliminated the tax on locomotive fuel. That helped us secure Union Pacific's state-of-the-art, nearly half-billion-dollar rail facility, helping position New Mexico as a growing gateway for trade.

We've since quadrupled exports to Mexico.

And we haven't raised taxes — not a single time. Just the opposite: We've cut taxes 37 times.

'Word is getting out'

In April our largest metro area, Albuquerque, had its best job growth since 2007.

Word is getting out.

EY calls us the "Best in the West" for our tax burden on manufacturers.

Kiplinger recognized New Mexico as the eighth most tax-friendly state in the country.

And CEO magazine added us to their Biggest Gains of 2016 list, jumping up four spots on their list of Best States for Business.

"We used to punish manufacturers that exported their goods, charging them higher taxes than other states. Not anymore."

During my administration, we've welcomed a broad and diverse group of industries to New Mexico, including high-tech and traditional manufacturing, health care, information technology and finance. Some are homegrown New Mexico companies; others are global leaders in their industries.

In the last few months alone, national leading companies have chosen New Mexico to grow and expand. Household names like FedEx, Fidelity Investments and Safelite AutoGlass.

We're seeing promising homegrown small businesses excel, too.

Our largest woman-owned company, Wildflower International, just expanded and will nearly double its workforce. In April we celebrated the ribbon cutting for Skorpios, a promising high-tech manufacturing company making photonic integrated circuits.

We're competing, and we're sharing that with CEOs all across the country.

We took that message to California just a few months ago and brought back jobs. PCM, a leading tech solutions provider, is now creating hundreds of new high-paying jobs in our state. They could have chosen anywhere else, but they chose us because we're doing things differently.

We've made a lot of progress — no doubt about it. But we still have a lot of work to do if we want to get out from under the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.

That is why I'm going to continue fighting for reforms that make New Mexico a better place to do business. We have the people, skills, talents and resources to make this vision a reality.

We'll keep doing all we can to move New Mexico forward.

— By New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2016 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.