New Mexico, like many states, is currently saddled with a budget problem: not enough revenue to cover too much in expenditures. Governor Martinez has chosen to target the subsidy used to entice the film industry to produce movies and television shows in the state. While she could have targeted any of $1.2 billion paid to subsidize other industries, for example, gas and oil, she has instead targeted one of the few good PR sources this state has.
Apparently, the governor thinks multi-Oscar-nominated films such as True Grit aren’t good enough for New Mexico
Let’s face it, the rest of the country doesn’t much consider New Mexico. Back in the day, then-Senator Domenici had to remind a fellow Senator that New Mexico was indeed a state in the union. That’s what we deal with, Governor. We are a poor state whose name makes people think instead of the foreign country to our south. That we are sandwiched between the whack-jobs who are ruining Arizona and Texas doesn’t help. If we are honest with ourselves, we must realize that we are now and will continue to be one of the “Match Girl” states.
The worth that the film industry brings to New Mexico isn’t found in the ledger. Based solely on that, yes, the film industry costs the state. That is more than made up for by the favorable attention New Mexico receives. This is not to be taken lightly or dismissed–we have an image problem. As a perennially needy state, we require people to think well of us. That’s what helps keep military bases open. That’s what attracts tourists and immigrants from other states. It distracts from the leaky border and the drug trade that soon follows.
Governor, I know that New Mexico ledger has its share of red ink. I implore you to reconsider your focused attention on the film industry and fully understand what losing it will mean. Already, in just the weeks since this has been a talking point in the press, film/tv projects are either on hold or choosing not to come here. In the long term, how does this help New Mexico? It doesn’t. In fact, it makes our situation worse…unless folks suddenly have a jones to visit our state because of our oil and gas pumping stations.