SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of the most talked-about industries in the state is the growing filmmaking industry. Around New Mexico, various projects are underway pushing the state to the next Hollywood. However, much-debated economic incentives lay at the heart of the industry.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has long championed the film industry and the benefits it can bring, such as job opportunities. To boost the industry, New Mexico’s lawmakers have offered tax credits to film companies, and the New Mexico Film Office is celebrating the latest round of tax credits, which increases the offerings to production companies.

They said those increased credits and related funds are “essential to preventing a backlog of rebates.” The Film Office said the raised credits “will allow New Mexico to capture larger and more lucrative productions and also bolster post-production work inside the state.”

It’s hard to deny that the industry does provide some economic returns to New Mexico, but not all lawmakers were excited about offering more cash to out-of-state production companies.

A key sticking point during the recent legislative session was what sorts of incentives film companies should get. The topic was folded into the omnibus tax bill, which was debated and passed at the end of the session.

“We hear from [the film industry] that if we reduce the incentives, or if they find better incentives somewhere else, they’re just gonna leave, and so, to me, that shows that they’re really not invested in New Mexico. They’re invested in the payout,” Rep. Jason C. Harper (R-Sandoval) said during the debates. “I would really rather that if we’re going to spend this kind of money on corporate welfare, that we do it on an industry that is vested in New Mexico and puts roots down in New Mexico.”

Ultimately, lawmakers approved the omnibus tax bill with film credits included, opponents noted that even if they didn’t agree with more credits, they were willing to compromise to get other tax changes included in the bill. However, following the session, the Governor nixed large portions of the omnibus tax bill, noting that she was concerned about the “sustainability” of the bill as a whole. The film credits were not stripped from the tax bill.

Film industry supporters are calling it a win. “With the new film legislation in HB 547 [the omnibus tax bill], New Mexico has solidified the health of this industry and ensured economic security for the families and businesses that depend on it,” Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said in a press release.