At last two voices of reason. Famous film curmudgeon Mike Lamb's email response was on Joe Monahan's blog today and though Joe who doesn't necessarily agree with Mike's analysis he made a brilliant comment about the effect of film on tourism. The offending study criticizes the E &Y study for an over emphasis on film's impact on visitation but everyone already knows where Massachusetts is and what it's got. NM however has consistently ranked in the bottom 5 states when it comes to public knowledge and perception as a travel destination. E & Y were also quoting a widely accepted study that has since been reinforced by another study conducted at the SF Airport. If the critics didn't like the methodology they were free to do their own analysis but simply to say E & Y exaggerated with no explanation is enough to bring doubts to their credibility. Let's not forget all these studies on tax return are looking at the cost of the 25% rebate, they are not looking at the impact of the $0.75 of new money that comes into the state. That is why the figures are so widely disparate. I thought you might enjoy Mike and Joe's comments – posted below.
Posted with permission of Joe Monahan (from www.joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com):
Reader Mike Lamb has thoughts on that Bloomberg article we posted Friday and that described how states are starting to cut down on incentives to attract Hollywood filmmakers. It's a hot issue here as well, with proposals floating that would trim the tax incentives we use to lure Tinseltown:
The Bloomberg article avoided any mention of New Mexico's incentive program, even though the film industry and mainstream media have identified it as being the most successful and professionally structured in the country...In any case, since NMreimburses 25 percent of a production company's expenses for its in-state purchases of goods and services, the 118 productions that were paid $181 million over the last three years spent at least $724 million here--which by conservative estimates had an overall financial impact of at least $2 billion.
With money like this at stake there's a fierce competition for it between states because of the potential size of the return on a relatively small inducement. Take that inducement away (which is what capping the incentives will do) and N.M. will lose it's ability to compete for this business, which will put an end to the tax revenues and other economic benefits we've been getting from it.
The debate rages over whether these tax breaks for the movie industry result in enough jobs and economic activity to justify them. Perhaps there needs to be a limit to how much we put out, but Rep. Dennis Kintigh and other ardent foes of the tax credits need to understand that when New Mexico is featured in a movie the impact goes on for decades as the film is shown again and again.
We're not Michigan or New Jersey. We are a state with a real tourist industry. We need a continuing investment in the mystique of the Land of Enchantment. So Rep. Kintigh, keep everyone honest and work hard for a compromise, but don't cast aside our state's special role in America's imagination or the public servants that came before you who placed it there.