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State lawmakers want to sweeten the deal for film and TV production

Created: 07/24/2014 6:06 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Some state lawmakers want to sweeten the deal for film and TV production in New Mexico – and they’re using a new economic impact study to make their case.

The study, done for the state by the Canadian accounting company MNP, covered the period from 2010 into 2014. It found that the industry used a state incentive fund to create nearly 16,000 jobs and generate an impact of about $1.5 billion on the state’s economy. Here’s how it works: for every dollar that a production company spends shooting a movie here, they get 25 cents back. For a TV series, it’s 30 cents on the dollar.  The annual limit on the whole deal is $50 million. Now a growing number of lawmakers want to get rid of that limit altogether, at least for TV production.

“TV is what brings us the good sustainable long term jobs that our economy really needs,” said Rep. Brian Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat. “Think about Breaking Bad and Longmire, Manhattan – all the series – those folks come to work every year.”

When Gov. Susana Martinez first took office in 2011, she wanted to cut back on the incentive program, but eventually supported an increase on TV production, as long as that $50 million cap remained in place. Now her Economic Development Department says no change in policy is under consideration, but many lawmakers are thinking the way Egolf does about this deal.

“Film and TV are good for New Mexico,” Egolf said. “They’re great for our future and we need to do everything we can to support the industry and help it grow.”

There are opponents and critics, who argue that each dollar spent generates only 43 cents in direct tax revenue – a bad deal for taxpayers.  One thing is for sure – we’ll be hearing plenty of debate about this when lawmakers convene for a 60 day session in January. You can bet the ranch on that.


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