Albuquerque Journal

HB 237 would repeal state film incentives

State Film Office opposes bill, notes need to maintain industry

- Copyright © 2023 Albuquerqu­e Journal BY ADRIAN GOMEZ

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.”

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