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Heinrich challenges Barela on film rebate program
During a town hall on Friday night, Albuquerque Congressman Martin Heinrich challenged his Republican opponent, Jon Barela, on Barela’s company’s use of a taxpayer-funded supercomputer and film tax credits.
The two squared off in a town-hall-style debate that aired on KNME. The two talked extensively about job creation and the role of government in the economy, including the film rebate program.
“It’s the risk takers, the entrepreneurs, the taxpayers that expand that tax base which provide for your salary and the salaries of others,” Barela said.
“You know, it’s funny that the small business, the high tech business that my opponent just mentioned, Cerelink, it’s a business that relies, actually, on a tax-payer funded super-computer, to do the work for them, to render movies here in New Mexico,” Heinrich said.
“They couldn’t do that work if they had to do it on their laptop at home. They utilize our taxpayer resources to do that work. In addition, they wouldn’t be competitive if they didn’t have a 25 percent tax credit to do that work here rather than somewhere else.”
Barela repeated his position that government doesn’t create jobs and that regulation and taxes should be reduced. Heinrich said Barela couldn’t “wag your finger on one side and have your hand out on another,” in reference to the use by Barela’s company of New Mexico’s supercomputer and the state’s film tax credit program to acquire business.
Heinrich said he didn’t have a problem with those policies, that public/private partnerships are good policy, but that Barela can’t “wag your finger on one side and have your hand out on another.”
Barela ignored the topic for the most part, saying his company had never “taken a dime from any direct tax credit from the state of New Mexico or anyone else.”
In response to questions by The Independent, Barela has refused to give his opinion about the film rebate program, and he didn’t give his opinion in this debate. When questioned by other media outlets, Barela has ducked the question.
The debate, which was hosted by Sam Donaldson, can be seen online: