LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Mayor Ken Miyagishima said Tuesday the City of Las Cruces is strong while condemning state budget cuts in his annual State of the City Address.
Mexican consulate officials, former El Paso Mayor John Cook and a representative with the office of Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada were in attendance.
"The state of the City is strong," Mayor Miyagishima began. "Nowhere is change more visible than in Downtown, where we unveiled a new civic plaza in September."
From the convention center to the new city hall, the city has many capital improvement projects underway, Miyagishima added.
The mayor said construction over the year will also lead to the creation of a new restaurant-hotel complex from Amador to Main street. There is already a stream of businesses moving into the Downtown area, he added.
Miyagishima praised Council's decision to raise the gross receipts tax in anticipation of a loss in state revenue. "It allowed us to leverage an excellent bond rating," Miyagishima said, while thanking former city manager Robert Garza, who retired last year, for his guidance.
Miyagishima also praised Council's hiring of new City Manager Stuart Ed, who is "already doing a great work for the city." Ed worked to create a new economic development department with the city, Miyagishima said.
The mayor blamed the "irresponsible tax cuts from the previous two state administrations for benefiting high income New Mexicans and corporations."
He described cuts as a "blow to the children and people" of New Mexico. "While neighboring states have moved forward, New Mexico has sunk to the bottom. This an embarrassment, a tragedy for the people of our state," Miyagishima said.
The mayor said the effects "can be reversed. It's not a question of big government or small government, but of appropriate government."
Miyagishima said he will continue to work to attract private enterprise, the "lynchpin of local success," by persuading outside businesses to relocate to Las Cruces by offering tax incentives ... balanced by an equally strong commitment to those who have already invested in our city."