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Move Launched To Start A New Mexico Division Of Creative Industries

House Minority Whip Reena Szczepanski and Sen. Jeff Steinhorn are joined by creators from around the state to support HB 8.
KevinMeerschaert
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KSFR-FM
House Minority Whip Reena Szczepanski and Sen. Jeff Steinhorn are joined by creators from around the state to support HB 8.

A bill has been introduced in the New Mexico legislature to establish a Division of Creative Industries within the State Economic Development Department.

House Bill 8 would set up the Creative Industries division to support the growth of economic opportunity among a wide range of creative industries outside of film.    

The bill is sponsored by Santa Fe Representative and House Majority Whip Reena Szczepanski and Senator Jeff Steinborn.

Following the model established through the Division of Outdoor Recreation, the Creative Industries Division would be used to spur job creation and local economic growth by providing grants, workforce training, professional services and targeted investments.       

Szczepanski says it’s another major industry the state can invest in.

“We’ve had real success that we should be proud of in sectors like film and aerospace but we know there is unlimited potential for growth for our people for innovation,” she said. “So as we diversify our economy we must not lose the heart and soul of New Mexico. Instead it’s time to embrace it, our creative industries.”    

The bill proposes an operating budget of two-million dollars and a one-time appropriation of $67 million from the general fund to provide a funding pool to make targeted ongoing investments.

The bill also requires that 50% of the appropriations go to rural and underserved communities.

According to state statistics five-percent of New Mexico employees work in the creative industries contributing $5.6 million to the state’s economy every year.

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.