Compromise bill in works for film tax subsidies

Posted at: 02/04/2013 5:35 PM
Updated at: 02/04/2013 5:36 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Key state lawmakers are close to a compromise deal that could head off a collision with Gov. Susana Martinez over the way taxpayers subsidize New Mexico's film and TV industry.

Some Democratic lawmakers want to lift the $50 million cap on that film subsidy, but the Republican Governor wants to keep it firmly in place. A Possible solution is something called the "Breaking Bad" bill.

"Breaking Bad", the wildly popular AMC show, is winding up its final season shooting in Albuquerque. The show, like other TV series’ shot in New Mexico, is eligible to get 25 cents back on practically every dollar it spends in the New Mexico economy. The "Breaking Bad" bill would raise that to 30 cents on every dollar for basically any other TV series shot here.

"TV shows stay longer than the movies," said Rep. Moe Maestas, an Albuquerque Democrat who is sponsoring the legislation. "They're filmed outdoors. Many times TV shows build sets and they can stay for multiple seasons. TV shows are a better economic investment for the state than the movies."

"One series usually lasts two years on average," said Sen. Tim Keller, another Albuquerque Democrat. "Often they last more than that, so you get a situation where we have reoccuring jobs instead of one-time jobs. That makes it easier to measure and also more impactful for the state."

"The movies come and go," Maestas said. "TV shows, if they are done well, are here to stay."

The movie industry would still get the 25 cent deal, and the bill would sweeten that pot just a little bit. Any unspent money under that $50 million dollar cap would go into the kitty for next year's movies and shows - an increase, sort of.

The bill's supporters say the signals they're getting from the Governor's office are pretty positive and encouraging right now. They say they want to pass a bill Martinez can sign, and send the film and TV industry a strong message - New Mexico wants your business.