Production giant Netflix is on its way in, but there’s concern many filmmakers will be on the way out of New Mexico soon if the state doesn’t lift the $50 million annual tax credit cap for productions.
This comes after the state revealed it has a backlog of $180 million in credits to pay out for productions in the Land of Enchantment. Lawmakers have tried to change this as recently as the 2018 legislative session, but the measures have never passed.
The odds look much better this coming year under governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, and some say it’s just in the nick of time.
New Mexico has been thrust to the forefront of the film industry, but there’s concern that spotlight will go dark if we don’t make changes to the tax credit program quickly.
“These film producers are essentially standing in line… and they’re not standing in line anymore. They’re going elsewhere so we need to bring them back. We need to remove the cap,” Rep. Moe Maetas , D-Albuqueque, said.
Yearly productions in New Mexico are greatly surpassing the $50 million annual cap. Enter Netflix, which will only add more pressure to the situation.
“Netflix is the number one filmmaker in the world, and they’re here in Albuquerque. So we want the smaller filmmakers to have access as well, so that line is getting longer and longer, so we need to shorten that line and bring more films to New Mexico,” Maestas said.
Maestas wants to raise or eliminate the cap. Lujan Grisham does, too:
“I’ve been very clear that under my leadership New Mexico is open for business again and the film industry is a huge part of that, including Netflix. I will work to raise or eliminate the film cap and streamline the program so the credits are available. This is crucial to my plan to double film production in the state. We need a solid number on the credit backlog, and I will work with the Legislature to develop an aggressive plan to pay what New Mexico owes and eliminate the backlog.”
Local actors like Keith Allen West also think it’s a good idea to eliminate the cap.
“Rebates aren’t a perk in the film industry. Rebates are what the film industry runs on,” he said.
West says it will help keep New Mexico on the national stage for film, which we’ve worked to attain so quickly.
“This is home to me. So yeah, I can travel to other places and work to be an actor, but I want to work in my hometown and my home state. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to raise a family and that’s why I think the incentives are so important — to keep people in New Mexico,” he said.