With New Mexico’s media continuing to slavishly repeat spin about film and television production in the Land of Enchantment, the Associated Press has issued an instructive story on how studios play states for suckers:
Louisiana’s once-booming film industry — dubbed “Hollywood South” — was off by as much as 90 percent this past year, according to the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association. The drop is all attributed to the state’s decision to wind down its generous incentives last July, scaring off movie makers.
Louisiana has handed a whopping $1.4 billion to productions — revenue it wishes it still had, given the state’s budget woes.
Hollywood’s money men aren’t stupid. Their approach to what California calls “runaway productions” is simple: Grab the cash for as long as you can, and hit the road when there’s a better offer. There is zero interest in building sustainable entertainment workforces and infrastructure — in New Mexico, or anywhere else. Studios exist to make profits, and states’ economic-development dreams are irrelevant. It’s all about the bottom line.
But rest assured, New Mexico will stick with its subsidization strategy. Probably no public policy in the Land of Enchantment enjoys more bipartisan support. And for the record, in recent years, job growth in New Mexico’s film-and-television “industry” has been nonexistent. In 2015, there were fewer employees than in 2012:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
3 Replies to “Hollywood: Leaving Louisiana”
What’s distressing is that the film companies make no investment in facilities (unlike other businesses) and create no permanent jobs. Because New Mexico has invested in the studio facilities they use, the taxpayers stand to lose money if the film companies depart for a bigger bribe. This also makes the state vulnerable to the kind of political bullying we saw when North Carolina passed an anti-transgender bathroom law. So we’re probably stuck with subsidies no matter what.
New Mexicans who work in the industry know first-hand what some of the problems are and how to fix them, however the Governor and the NM Film Board are more concerned with what is “politically correct” and not willing to step on the toes of political hacks who, for their own personal interests, impede work coming into the state. California Producers and Directors have said repeatedly that they would not bring work to NM so long as certain individuals remain in positions of power here. New Mexico is an easy drive from Hollywood and has extensive filming facilities as good as any, but some personalities here continue to discourage more work from coming into the state.
We’d welcome the film industry absent their ongoing demands for generous subsidies from the taxpayer. Are there any specific people or policies that you’d like to point out? Your points are very general and in order to create a dialogue we really need specifics.