Film Subsidies: Economic Dead End

I have a fair amount of respect for the folks at Albuquerque Studios. After all, they plopped down a lot of private money to build their studios just south of Albuquerque. Certainly, they did this with the intent of taking advantage of New Mexico’s massively-subsidized film industry, but unlike the Santa Fe Studios which are again subsidized, the Albuquerque Studios themselves were not. Unfortunately, in a sign that the film industry is not economically-viable in New Mexico — perhaps even with massive taxpayer handouts — it has come to light that the folks at Albuquerque Studios owe $334,000 in unpaid property taxes. This comes on top of the Studios’ recent flirtation with bankruptcy.

If the film industry is so great, shouldn’t SOMEBODY in this state be able to create a going concern without directly relying on government handouts?

Oh, and then there is this nice analysis of that state’s film industry subsidies from our friends at the Mackinac Center, a free market think tank based in Michigan. Despite $117 million in film subsidies over two years, there are fewer people employed in the film industry now than before the program took effect!

With a new governor coming into office this November and the economy (and budget) still in the tank, now would seem to be a great time to discuss the future of the film subsidy program and whether we can eliminated or at least limit its negative impact on taxpayers.