Dems push to end cap on film industry rebates, GOP wary

Gov. Susana Martinez stood on a sound stage in Albuquerque last summer crediting the film and television industry with injecting a record $505 million into the New Mexico economy over the previous fiscal year. But will the governor who sought to cut tax rebates for filmmakers when she first took office go along with a bill to lift the current cap on incentives, a measure that some say would provide an additional boost as the industry continues to prove a particularly busy part the state’s economy? Democratic legislators are pushing a bill that would eliminate the $50 million cap on the annual total of tax rebates the state provides film and television producers working in New Mexico. In an unusual inversion of the Legislature’s typical partisan dynamics, Democrats argue it would be a boon for business but Republicans contend it could strain the state’s budget and amount to a giveaway for out-of-state businesses. So even though the proposal, House Bill 113, passed its first committee on Wednesday, it only did so on party lines, casting doubt on whether the Republican governor would support it.

Lobbyists report spending nearly $237,000 during session

Lobbyists and their employers spent $236,828 on gifts, wining and dining for elected officials, their guests and staff during the 2016 legislative session. And that’s only a portion of what was spent during the 30-day session because it captures only those times lobbyists spent $500 or more on a single event. 

We’ll know more about how entertained lawmakers were during the 30-day session when lobbyists and employers make their full reports on May 1. If Gov. Susana Martinez signs House Bill 105, lobbyists will have to file reports again in October. Right now lobbyists file full reports only in January and May. Last year, during a session twice as long, lobbyists reported spending nearly $300,000 during the session.