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Sharing the wealth

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Small towns in New Mexico reap benefits of the film industry

By Sherry Robinson

Last fall, after a dismal tourist season for Red River, film crews arrived to make “This Must Be the Place.” They filled hotels and restaurants and boosted gross receipts, which saved Red River, according to Rep. Bobby Gonzales.
Well, maybe it didn’t save the town, but “it certainly helped,” says a local business woman, who supports the industry and the incentives that keep movie makers here. “It was a big influx of cash.”
Going into the legislative session, film incentives loomed as an issue, but the governor and the industry were both making conciliatory noises, so it was surprising to see incentives become a lightning rod. Instead of rational discussion, we got emotional bombast.
“I am not willing – not willing – to give Hollywood a subsidy of 25 percent on the backs of our kids,” said the governor, as if there were no other options.
She wanted another $25 million to add to the budget. Other states had the same problem and solved it, according to Sherri Burr, a UNM Law professor, by identifying other funding sources.
Film proponents responded, “Job killers!”


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