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From left to right, Sharon Craft, Becka Ross and Mikael Ann Lamonde line up to be photographed and hopefully meet with casting directors Feb. 16.
Wren Abbott

Memorial passed to study film credit impact

February 16, 2011, 1:00 am
By Wren Abbot

A Senate Joint Memorial sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego requesting legislators review New Mexico's film industry credit passed the Senate yesterday.

The interim committee will review the advantages and disadvantages of the current film credit and report back to Gov. Susana Martinez and the state legislature.

"All we're asking for is transparency," Griego told the senate. "Everybody wants to know, is this working, is it not working? We want at the legislature to be able to respond to our constituents with hard facts."

During discussion on the memorial, Sen. William Payne questioned whether more research was necessary because numerous state and national studies have already examined the costs and benefits to the state of the current program.

Griego responded that legislators need to be involved in the study, instead of relying on other bodies' findings. 

Payne also moved to amend the memorial, removing the words "tax credit" from its title. During her State of the State address last month, Martinez said the so-called film tax credit "has nothing to do with taxes."

Twenty-nine senators, including Sen. Payne, voted in favor of the memorial with Payne's amendment, and three senators voted against it.

Preston Page, who represented the Motion Picture Association of New Mexico during Film and Media Day at the Roundhouse Feb. 16, tells SFR that SJM 15 is "fantastic." He says he hopes the results will get more attention than the 2009 Ernest and Young study, which found that New Mexico earns $1.50 in revenue for each dollar of the film credit.

"It's not a bad deal to get $70 million back for 47.1 million in investment," Page says. "Once the data come up they'll see it's a good idea for New Mexico."

After an hour and a half of waiting at the Avengers casting call event during Film and Media Day, Sharon Craft, Becka Ross and Mikael Ann Lamonde (pictured) were still toward the back of a long line near Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta, waiting to be photographed and put into a statewide database of extras.

"[The film industry] comes in, they bring jobs, all they're doing is supporting New Mexico," says Ross, who teaches acting at a studio. "We would be getting rid of a lot of extra jobs and extra money."


 

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