SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic state lawmakers want to eliminate New Mexico’s annual $50 million cap on film incentive spending but the future of the proposal is unclear amid Republican opposition.
The bill which would eliminate a cap on incentives is moving through the New Mexico House and comes after state officials reported the film and television industry contributed more than a half-billion dollars to New Mexico’s economy in 2016.
Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, an Albuquerque Democrat and sponsor of the bill, said outside of Los Angeles and New York, the state of New Mexico is one of the top film producers in the country. “It’s time to remove the cap and the disincentives that it places on economic development and film production here in New Mexico,” Maestas said.
Rep. Bill McCamley, a Las Cruces Democrat, said there was a direct correlation between the money the state spent on incentives and the return it got.
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Some critics of the cap fear it could lead productions to pass by New Mexico for other states.
But Rep. Rebecca Dow, a Truth or Consequences Republican, said she sees the tax credit as going to some of the wealthiest people in the world and seemed to be playing favoritism. “I’m trying to understand why a certain industry should be such a winner,” she said.
Data from the New Mexico Film Office show film and television productions contributed $505 million to the state’s economy in 2016. That included 61 major productions.
A spokeswoman for Martinez said the Republican governor has not reviewed the bill.
New Mexico lawmakers’ attempt to remove the state’s cap on film incentive comes amid increased competition around the country for film production as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon step up their own projects.
Last year, for example, Louisiana lawmakers voted to continue a $180 million limit on the amount that taxpayers will spend each year on the tax credits doled out to film and TV productions.