New Mexico has huge potential for developing aerospace and aviation industries because of its weather and wide open air space. But industry leaders say it also has many hurdles to overcome, including high taxes and a reputation as a poor state with crime and bad schools.
During an industry round table at Albuquerque's Sunport, Mark Butler of Virgin Galactic said New Mexico used to top the list of states for aerospace development because of its Spaceport, where Virgin Galactic hope to begin commercial space flights late next year. But he says the state is falling to the bottom because the legislature has declined to pass legislation exempting suppliers of parts for air and space from liability for passengers if there is an accident.
Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela says the state also needs a more competitive corporate tax structure.