What’s the most powerful lobbying force in New Mexico?
Medicaid’s dead-end defenders?
Purveyors of politically correct energy?
No, if the fate of the special session’s HB 15 is any indication, the film-and-television industry has the mightiest “juice” in Santa Fe. The bill, as initially written, would have cut the $50 million annual perk Hollywood gets from New Mexico taxpayers in half for the 2017 fiscal year. (An amendment raised the cap to $30 million.)
As the legislature’s fiscal analysts noted, the “savings” would be “temporary, because qualified applicants [would] still get the entirety of their claims,” just at a later date. “In effect, the bill borrows money from future years for use in FY17.”
Yet HB 15, sponsored by Rod Montoya, David Gallegos, James Strickler, and James Townsend, didn’t get so much as a committee vote. And there was little chance that a comparable draft in the Senate would have met with success.
The extravagance and ineffectiveness of New Mexico’s annual giveaway to Hollywood has been documented time and time and time again, but most legislators continue to believe that the corporate-welfare program is an effective economic-development tool. Looks like those of us who regularly document the real-world consequences of subsidizing Tinseltown still have a lot of work ahead of us.