The governor and Democratic lawmakers said they want to pay off the more than $300 million Hollywood tab this session, but a bill to pay off a good chunk of it has gone through major changes.
Originally the bill was going to eliminate a credit cap, but now that’s off the table. Instead, one of the sponsors wants to raise the cap in hopes of bringing in more productions and more money to the state.
“While the governor was campaigning she heard about the need to extend this tax credits, so we can remove the shackles we have on the film industry and let them continue what they do best, [and] that’s bring economic development for families in New Mexico,” said Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, (D) Santa Fe. “So it’s a win-win for everyone.”
In a new version of Senate Bill 2, it would let the state pay a one time fee of up to $225 million to get rid of a majority of the backlog we owe to Hollywood. To prevent those numbers from climbing that high again, the bill would also add a $100 million hard limit on that tab.
The new version of the bill would raise the state’s cap credits from $50 million to $110 million. Sen. Rodriguez said the problem with the current $50 million cap is that it leaves loopholes for our backlog to rise.
However, committee members worried the changes to the film credit tax would not live up to its economic promise.
“Governor Grisham owns this now, and be careful how much you ask for because it could be a real sting with what happens there,” said Sen. John Arthur Smith, (D) Deming. “You better be real responsible.”
Discussion about the bill was passionate on both sides and the committee chair called this bill the ‘Albuquerque-Santa Fe film credit,’ as a jab that productions only go to those two cities and don’t take advantage of rural areas.
When it came down to a vote, however, it passed unanimously.
The governor has made it known that paying off the Hollywood tab is one of her priorities this session.