Chances are pretty good that you've seen an email in recent days about NM House Bill 725 -- the one that proposes not limiting incentives for film and media industry, but eliminating them entirely. I realize I was being a little naive when I thought that something like this would never get out of committee -- I mean, New Mexico has become one of the top production centers in the world these past few years, almost from scratch, and we continue to be the model other states look at for a package of programs that works both for visiting productions and for building a sustainable industry in the state. Considering that film and media is one of the sectors that continues to grow while nearly everything else is losing ground... who'd want to mess with that?

Apparently there are still a few people who feel New Mexico would save money by killing the industry and having to pay for all those lost jobs instead. Unbelievable.

Nowhere is this more important than in Albuquerque, and maybe that's part of the issue. Because of the city's commitment and responsiveness to media business, we now have Albuquerque Studios, a growing contingent from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Reelz Channel and many other small and mid-sized businesses that pay taxes (and employees) here. Some may grouse that Albuquerque is receiving more benefit than the rest of the state, but looking at the Ernst and Young study, it's also clear that those towns that invest in infrastructure and being responsive see those investments pay off as well.

Anyway, if you'd like to help support film and media, please check out the facebook post from the good folks at crewnewmexico.com over here. It includes handy contact info for legislators and draft text for letters and emails.

For more background on what's going on and what's at stake, the following is from one of several emails (perhaps from IATSE 480), but there's another point I'd like to share -- one that Ali McGraw made to legislators the other day -- and that's the immeasurable benefit we get when students across New Mexico see that there are good creative jobs here at home.

If you or someone you know benefited financially from the film business in NM, please take the time to make a quick phone call or compose a brief email to the committee members that will be hearing HB 725.

The film industry is a clean industry that supports hundreds of businesses in NM with its day to day operational expenditures.

During our time off, filmmakers enjoy the treats and retreats of New Mexico by attending the local's yoga classes, eating at the neighborhood's restaurants, skiing the mountain's slopes, shopping in the city's stores and buying gas at the state's pumps to fuel our cars to travel to all of the wonderful sights that NM has to offer!

The bill that is being reviewed stops the film incentive program which in turn stops the film industry in NM which in turn stops the film made dollars pouring into the cash registers.

According to the Local 480, this bill is heard this Sunday, March, 1, 2009 and IF passed would be effective July 1, 2009.

Again, if you or your business benefited financially from the film industry in NM, please take a quick moment to make a phone call or compose an email.

Please be respectful, positive, succinct, honest and specific when sharing your information on how Movies Made Money for You and how Movies Make Money for New Mexico!

The link to the committee members hearing the bill is below.

http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/committeedisplay.aspx?CommitteeCode=HBIC

Thank you!

Views: 9

Tags: film, incentives, legislature, media

Comment by Chris K. on February 28, 2009 at 6:40am
Eric, thank you for posting this.

As someone who works in the Film Industry I am in fear that I will not be able to support my family due to House Bill 725. I am grateful for the legislators who have supported the Film Industry in the past, and I ask anyone who understands the importance of the Film Industry here in New Mexico to contact the members of the House Business and Industry committee and thank them for supporting the industry in the past and request that they continue with that support. A link to the committee is below.

http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/committeedisplay.aspx?CommitteeCode=HBIC

I am truly grateful for the chance to make a decent salary and to be a part of an industry that brings money into New Mexico. I can not imagine in these trying economic times why anyone would think that gutting the incentives would be a good idea. Productions buy supplies, rent rooms, pay for location rental, and pay salaries to people who then spend their money locally. Check out the story about the recent Earnest and Young study to find out more about the positive return on investment here in New Mexico.

http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2009/01/12/daily53.html

So please contact the members of the House Business and Industry committee and let them know that you appreciate the continued support for the Film Industry here in New Mexico. My 5 and 2 year old will be happy if Daddy gets to keep making a living.
Comment by Eric Renz-Whitmore on March 12, 2009 at 4:59pm
by the way...
The film industry is mostly fine for the moment. Heck, Crash just re-upped for a year, New York ran out of cash for their incentives, and that SAG strike will *probably* be averted fairly soon. Which puts NM back in the top five for movie making states in the US.

I'm sure we'll see a similar fight next year though, so stay friendly and keep making cool movies.

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