Editor's Note: This is the Part 10 of a multi-article series on the Prospectors' Legislative Community Forum, held at Western New Mexico University on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Community groups presented their needs and concerns to New Mexico Reps. Dianne Hamilton and Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez, and Sen. Howie Morales.
After a lunch break, presentations began about 1 p.m. The first to speak was Faye McCalmont, Mimbres Region Arts Council director.
"The Mimbres Region Arts Council is one of the founding members of the first Arts and Cultural Districts in New Mexico," McCalmont said. "Three bills will be introduced. I ask you to pass the Arts and Cultural District clean up bill. It would give $500,000 to the state MainStreet Program. The local Arts and Cultural District has also asked for some funding for wayfinding.
"We ask for an increase in funding for the Cultural Affairs Department," McCalmont continued. "We're consistently No. 1 in the state, but our funding has decreased from $20,000 to $7,000. More funding would help us improve our programs for students, as well as the way we participate in cultural tourism."
Morales asked if the $500,000 was a statewide request.
"Yes, each district would request how much it wants," McCalmont said. "We want to put kiosks downtown. It's difficult for people to even find the way downtown."
Morales asked for an estimate. "Cuts from $20,000 to $7,000, maybe we can appropriate more."
"The funding is distributed through a grant process, and more and more arts councils are requesting funding," McCalmont said.
"We can request more," Morales said.
Hamilton said McCalmont's continued presence in the arts council has been good. "How will you get part of the $500,000?"
"I believe we have to apply to MainStreet," McCalmont said.
Martinez asked about the requests for more Arts and Cultural Districts. "Where are we?"
"Several are vying for the designation," McCalmont said. "But it will be awarded to only two. It's quite a process to apply."
Representing the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce was Lynda Aiman-Smith.
"The Tamal y Más Fiesta is Dec. 8," Aiman-Smith said. "We would like to see you there.
"I am a Green Chamber member, but I am not here to ask for money," she said. "I need advice on how to get something done."
She introduced to the legislators the concept of an L3C, a low-profit limited liability corporation.
"Why do we need it?" she asked. "It is a company organization that works best for social entrepreneurs."
She said she teaches online at North Carolina State University from her home in Silver City. "I am teaching about entrepreneurs. The L3C sees no divide between doing good and doing well. We care because foundations can invest in corporations that have a social mission. L3Cs can receive funding from foundations, for-profit organizations, and mission-based investors."
"I think all it takes to get an L3C is a modification of the limited liability corporation act," Aiman-Smith said. "I am willing as a citizen and a member of the Green Chamber of Commerce to work with you on this."
"This is something brand new," Hamilton said. "I think it's very exciting, but I have no advice on how to do it."
Martinez said it was the first time he had heard of the L3C. "We do have staff who can do research on whether it would be better to modify or create new legislation."
Morales asked if the primary mission is social benefit.
"It can be something like reconstruction of an old hotel or wastewater reclamation," Aiman-Smith said.
"The secondary mission is to make a profit?" Morales asked.
Aiman-Smith concurred. "I am also informally working with low-profit investing locally."
Morales said he would like to get more information.
"Nine states and three tribes have the L3C designation," Aiman-Smith said.
Morales said he thinks it would help to have a modification of the act.
"I don't know if anyone else in New Mexico is working on the same idea," Aiman-Smith said.
Morales said it would help the legislators if others in the state were thinking along the same lines. He asked Aiman-Smith to get the information to Kim Clark of Prospectors.
The next presentation will be on the SRAM Tour of the Gila.