- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Nearly half of New Mexico voters support luring employers to the state with financial incentives, according to an Albuquerque Journal poll.

Forty-nine percent of voters said they are behind offering as much as $1 billion worth of financial incentives to attract a large company, the Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1sS2WKj ) Sunday. Thirty-nine percent say they were against offering public incentives. The remaining voters say they had mixed feelings or were undecided.

Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the poll, said the economy likely shaped voters’ attitudes.

“New Mexico’s voters are hungry for more jobs and a stronger economy,” Sanderoff said.

The poll was conducted Sept. 9-11, just a few days after New Mexico lost out to be the site of a new Tesla plant. Tesla Motors Inc. announced earlier this month that it had chosen Nevada as the location for a $5 billion battery “gigafactory.” New Mexico was one of five states up for the plum deal which would have meant 6,500 jobs. Nevada lawmakers last week approved $1.25 billion in tax breaks for the company.

Gov. Susana Martinez did not reveal any details about negotiations with Tesla beyond saying they were offered a “very good” package of incentives. To woo Tesla, some state lawmakers proposed as much as $500 million to get the automaker.

“It sounds enormous, but you have to look at what is the investment and what is the return on investment,” Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez said of the state contribution at the time. “It would be a tremendous investment on our part.”

The poll was based on telephone interviews with 500 people who voted in the 2010 and 2012 elections and said they would likely vote again this year. The poll’s margin of error was 4.4 percentage points.

According to the poll, voters between ages 18 and 49 were likely more receptive to using incentives to appeal to business. But that was likely because younger voters are likely spending more time in the job market, Sanderoff said.

Going by political parties, 57 percent of Republican voters said they would back financial incentives. Forty-three percent of Democrats also said they would support tax breaks for large employees.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com


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