Increase Subsidies for TV Shows or Improve Schools? (UPDATED)

RGF has remained steadfastly opposed to subsidies for the film and television industries in New Mexico. Nonetheless, we had remained on the sidelines on HB 379 which originally was written to increase the subsidy for TV shows from 25% to 30%. In and of itself, that was not too big a problem as the subsidy was capped at $50 million and TV shows like “Breaking Bad” do have a longer-term presence unlike movies which come and go freely with little lasting impact.

Unfortunately, a separate provision was later added into the bill that would allow the unused cap space to “roll over” to following years. Thus, if $10 million were not used this year, the cap would be $60 million. This is not good as it adds uncertainty back into the program. This provision alone merits a veto or at least a veto of that line-item if possible. Oh, and union rep John Hendry has no idea what he’s talking about when he says “We bring more money in than we spend on these film incentives. This idea that it’s costing the state of New Mexico a penny is absurd.” Economists left, right, and center have come to the same conclusion that these subsidies are economically-harmful.

Now, as KOB-TV reports, Gov. Martinez is upset (justifiably) because the Legislature has not given funding for merit-based teacher pay. Again, this proposal is something worth considering and the refusal to fund it shows that when it comes to education reform, many in the Legislature are not serious. Check out the KOB TV story here.

UPDATE: Gov. Martinez has vetoed the “Breaking Bad” Bill.