Governor floats special session to get Tesla in NM

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — Getting Tesla to build its multi-billion dollar, 6,500 job battery factory in New Mexico might hinge on lawmakers heading back to Santa Fe.

Governor Susana Martinez says she’s now thinking about calling a special session focused on swooning the electric car maker.

Martinez made the announcement at an event Monday saying a special session may be necessary to pass more state incentives needed to win Tesla over. However, it was clear in speaking with the Governor on Tuesday that she’s staying pretty tight lipped about what she’s thinking.

“I think there’s still questions whether one is necessary or not, and so we have not gone, I mean, I can just tell you what we’re thinking … I can’t share with you. That’s what I am going to tell you,” said Governor Martinez with a laugh at an event Tuesday.

Governor Martinez won’t say what incentives the state might need to win Tesla’s new battery factory, nor would she say when she’ll make a decision about a possible special session. The governor would only say Tuesday that the idea is “on the table.”

“I’m not saying that we are or we aren’t we’re not there yet but I’m not leaving anything off the table as a possibility,” said Governor Martinez.

She also added Tuesday that the state is very much “in the game.”

“We’re actually one of four states being considered and because of that I give great credit to the bi-partisan work that we’ve done to make New Mexico competitive with those three other states,” said Governor Martinez.

Tesla wants to open a $5 billion battery factory by 2017 and make a decision on where it will go sometime in 2014.

Meanwhile, Democrats are reacting to the governor’s announcement, saying they welcome a special session, if necessary.

“We have land, we have great railroad systems and plenty of hard workers so the legislature will do what it takes to drive economic development,” said House Majority Whip, Representative Moe Maestas.

Rep. Maestas proposed some legislation this last session that would have benefitted Tesla with reduced energy bills. However, the bill didn’t pass the Senate.

Maestas believes that if the governor called a special session, it would likely be a nearly done deal that New Mexico would for sure land Tesla.

“If you’re going to bring us back, there should be some strong gentlemen agreements between Tesla and the state of New Mexico that if we provide this incentive, or change this statute that it will produce fruit,” said Rep. Maestas. “We would want definite bills, definite incentive packages and an agreement amongst the legislative leadership that we can get it done.”

Governor Martinez also said today that a recent lowering of the corporate income tax and changes to manufacturer taxes have helped New Mexico in recent talks. Nevada, Arizona and Texas are also in the running for the company.

A special session could cost tax payers about $50,000 per day. The last special session for redistricting, which failed, cost about $1 million dollars.

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