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…
Bill to cap film incentives clears House
A bill that would cap the film subsidy program at $45 million cleared the House on a 53-17 vote despite three hours of debate and a number of amendments put forward by Democrats to alter the bill. The debate on the amendments took the full time allowed by House rules.
There was no repeat of the state budget process, during which Democrats limited amendments by “running out the clock” on the three-hour time limit on debate on a bill.
A number of amendments were put forward and voted down by the chamber. An amendment by Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, to increase the cap to $60 million failed on a 36-33 vote.
Egolf said that a $45 million dollar cap would make New Mexico lose “all of the major productions” and that films like The Avengers would not film in New Mexico.
Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, said that studies have shown that the state does not get a return on investment that would make the incentive good for New Mexico.
A controversial part of the debate came when Rep. Donald Bratton, R-Hobbs, accused some members in support of raising the film incentive to $60 million as going back on their word. He said that there was a deal in place in the House Taxation and Revenue Committee to cap the bill at $45 million.
“A liar’s a liar by any other word,” Bratton said.
Bratton was chastised by Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, D-Nambe, though not by name.
“Calling people liars on this floor is uncalled for,” Lujan said while on debate of a different amendment. “I will guarantee you that I will never call a member a liar.”
Bratton also said the oil and gas industry, which Democrats pointed out gets incentives from the state as well, doesn’t threaten to move operations out of state “all the time.”
Egolf pointed out that representatives of the oil and gas industry threaten to leave the state because of the pit rule and other environmental regulations.
Another amendment by Egolf would have limited incentives to the oil and gas industry at $45 million.
“We’ll give a cap here in this bill,” Egolf said. “But let’s make a cap on all the other giveaways, loopholes, subsidies, etcetera, that are in the oil and gas industry.”
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Egolf said.
That amendment was tabled on a 40-28 vote.
An amendment by Rep. Al Park, D-Albuquerque, to push the effective date of the cap to fiscal year 2013, was tabled after a 41-28 vote.
Gov. Susana Martinez has called for the state film incentive program to be reduced from a 25 percent rebate to a 15 percent rebate.