HB 237 would repeal state film incentives
State Film Office opposes bill, notes need to maintain industry
The New Mexico film industry continues to set records with the amount of money it brings into the state — including $855.4 million in the 2022 budget year.
Though the industry has drawn accolades, a proposal pending at the Roundhouse would repeal a film rebate program that has been a political lightning-rod over the past decade.
The repeal proposal, House Bill 237, is sponsored by four Republican state representatives — Larry Scott of Hobbs, James Townsend of Artesia, Greg Nibert of Roswell and Randall Pettigrew of Lovington.
It is scheduled to be heard in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday, and has already generated pushback from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration.
“Yes, the state brought in 850 million dollars, but taxpayers wrote a check of about $155 million back towards the industry,” Scott said. “In our tax policy meeting in November, we were told the film industry generated 2,600 full-time jobs. If you do the math, each one of those jobs costs the state of New Mexico $60,000.”
Incentives include a 25% to 35% production tax credit for film, TV, commercials, documentaries, music videos, video games, animation, postproduction and more.
While his bill would undo those tax credits, Scott recognizes the film industry’s success.
“The question I have is this an effective use of taxpayers dollars,” Scott said. “Maybe it’s time to revisit whether the subsidies are a good deal for the taxpayers. … We need to have this conversation.”
The New Mexico Film Office opposes House Bill 237, arguing a competitive film incentive is foundational to a thriving film industry.
According to a recent study on the film incentive conducted by Olsberg•SPI, 92% of productions would not be in, or consider New Mexico, if not for the incentive.
“Eliminating the film incentive program would be devastating to the industry, our economy, our workforce, and our businesses statewide,” the Film Office stated in a news release. “With other states, such as Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado, creating film incentive programs of their own, we need to stay competitive and continue building on our immense success.”