New Mexico and the film industry: A history of support from governors - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico and the film industry: A history of support from governors

For decades, New Mexico has worked to bring the film industry to the state.

The first film commission was founded in New Mexico in 1968 by former Gov. David Cargo.

The governmental body has since evolved into the New Mexico Film Office. Though the name has changed, the mission has always been the same — steering full-fledged feature-film and TV productions to the state.

Today, the effort is not only to have productions come to film in the state, but to build a sustainable industry that would create jobs for New Mexicans.

A comprehensive film incentive program began under Gov. Gary Johnson and then overhauled by Gov. Bill Richardson. It was scaled back by Gov. Susana Martinez during her tenure.

The state’s film incentive program today offers a 25%-35% refundable tax credit on New Mexico goods and services.

By 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has long been a champion of the film industry, upped the ante when she signed Senate Bill 2, which gave incentives to companies to collaborate with the state through partnership agreements. Currently, Netflix and NBCUniversal are two of the biggest partnerships with a 10-year plan.

The 2019 bill also raised a 2011 cap on what the state can pay out to film and TV productions from $50 million to $110 million per year, while also authorizing the spending of up to $225 million to pay down an accumulated backlog in film incentives.

This is when the rural uplift credit went into effect. It gives a production a 5% incentive to film at least 60 miles outside of the Bernalillo and Santa Fe county corridor.

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