I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Barela ducks questions about state film rebate program
Republican Jon Barela continues to avoid questions posed by The Independent about the business his company gets due in large part to government programs.
Last week a Barela spokesperson did not reply to the Independent’s question asking why Cerelink promotes the New Mexico film tax credit program on its website and in press releases.
Barela has refused to tell the Independent whether or not he thinks the state’s film rebate program is beneficial to the state’s economy or whether he thinks it should be reduced in scope given the state’s ongoing budget deficit. Several top lawmakers have targeted the incentive program for reductions.
The Independent wrote a story last week that juxtaposed Barela’s running as a congressional candidate critical of government spending to boost the economy at the same time that his company has indirectly benefited from a government program, New Mexico’s film tax credit program.
The state film tax credit program appears to have created an environment in which companies like Cerelink, which do work for film production companies, benefit because some of the firms contracting Cerelink and others might not have chosen the company or been in New Mexico otherwise.
Dreamworks officials directly attributed the film rebate program as an important incentive that helped Cerelink get its business. In a NM Business Weekly article that describes how Cerelink leverages state resources, Cerelink’s CEO states that the company plans to grow significantly in the next few years.
On several news outlets last week Barela stated that his company, Cerelink, has not received film tax credits from the state, which answers a question never posed by The Independent.
On a 770 KKOB talk radio show last week, he said reports stating as much were “erroneous.” And to theAlbuquerque Journal, he stated that his company “…has never received any tax credits, period. That is just flatly inaccurate. It’s just wrong.”
Dreamworks hasn’t taken it’s cash rebate yet, but the Barela camp acknowledged in an email to The Independent that Dreamworks is eligible for the state money, while refuting that there’s any benefit to Cerelink in the program.
“Cerelink has not received tax breaks and though DreamWorks is eligible, it has not received a tax rebate from the state either,” Barela spokesperson Angela Heisel said. “So to say that Cerelink benefits from the incentives is a stretch.”
Cerelink is able to provide services to Dreamworks through a partnership with the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Council for Higher Education Computing Communication Services and the New Mexico State Agency of IT.
The company uses the Encanto supercomputer, purchased by the state of New Mexico in 2007, to fulfill it’s contract with Dreamworks. The supercomputer is housed at the Intel Corporation’s facilities in Rio Rancho.