HP Adds NM Jobs

Rio Rancho – Hewlett-Packard Co. has opened a customer service and technical support center in Rio Rancho, making good on a commitment to provide 1,300 jobs that pay at least $40,000 in exchange for more than $20 million in incentives.

Gov. Bill Richardson and HP president and CEO Mark Hurd led a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday in front of the three-story, 218,000-square-foot building as politicians, business leaders and employees of the computer firm waited in the cold.

The governor told the crowd the opening was good news, given that New Mexico and the rest of the nation are grappling with economic uncertainty and high unemployment.

However, the expected economic boost of having HP in New Mexico came with a price. New Mexico invested millions of dollars in the form of tax incentives, job training and capital outlay funds to attract the Fortune 500 company to the state.

Some critics have said the state, which is facing a $650 million budget shortfall, cannot afford to be so generous when trying to attract companies. Richardson and others argued that incentives are what drive economic development and result in jobs.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.