Gov. Lujan Grisham announces legislation to continue growth of state film jobs and workforce training
State seeks to future-proof industry by increasing cap and doubling rural uplift
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday announced the introduction of legislation that will update the state’s film and media industry incentives program, continuing to foster the industry’s record-breaking growth and further benefit New Mexico workers and businesses.
Sponsored by Senator Nancy Rodriguez, Senate Bill 12 will ensure that New Mexico further cements its status as a home for film and television production. The legislation includes a phased increase to the yearly cap on film credit rebates of an additional $10 million per fiscal year, bringing the total yearly cap from $110 to $210 million over the next decade. The addition to the cap will adjust for steady growth and inflation in order to prevent a backlog that would begin to accrue in FY25, ensuring New Mexico can continue to attract larger-scale productions that employ New Mexico cast and crew members. The bill also doubles the uplift for productions outside the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor to 10%, further incentivizing production spending in rural communities across the state.
“New Mexico is truly the Hollywood of the Southwest, with an industry that provides thousands of high-wage jobs in a resilient, growing, and global industry that brings hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy every year,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Our film incentive is a cornerstone to New Mexico’s status as a premier production hub – this legislation will ensure that the successful industry we’ve built remains in place for years to come, providing economic growth and rewarding careers for future generations of New Mexicans.”
“We have seen the economic benefit our current film incentive has had on our state, and now it’s time to make the bill even stronger, helping to grow New Mexico’s digital media ecosystem – and that includes high-paying jobs, business growth, and top-tier workforce development,” said Sen. Rodriguez.
New Mexico’s film incentive has proven to be immensely successful, with Netflix, NBCUniversal, and 828 Productions now making New Mexico a major production hub. For the past two consecutive years, the film, television, and digital media industry has shattered previous records in production spend, reaching $855.4 million in fiscal year 2022. In addition, the New Mexico Film Office recorded a seven-fold boost from fiscal year 2021 in rural production spend, reaching an unprecedented $50 million in fiscal year 2022.
“New Mexico now has three cities across the state that have gained national recognition. With our Film Partner program and the announcement of the New Mexico Media Academy last legislative session, we have significant momentum and now must shore up this industry and secure opportunities for the crew, their families, and the small businesses that have helped it flourish,” said Alicia J. Keyes, Cabinet Secretary of Economic Development for the State of New Mexico.
In addition to increasing the rebate cap and doubling the rural uplift, the legislation will further encourage productions to cast more resident actors and principal performers in leading roles by excluding residents from the existing $5 million performers credit cap. Currently both resident and non-resident principal performers credits are capped at $5 million per production. The bill maintains existing language that resident crew, and other resident above-the-line talent, including directors and producers, are eligible for the incentive, which drives local hiring.
In order to ensure that New Mexico can be home to the most lucrative productions, the legislation would also increase the maximum above-the-line incentive for official state film partners to $15 million per production. As it currently stands, the existing performers cap stands in the way of New Mexico capturing big-budget movies and television series, which spend more money in communities, pay higher wages, and offer more advanced skills training and emergent technology experience for crew.
“New Mexico is a national leader in the film and media space, and we want to ensure New Mexicans can be a part of this exciting industry for years to come,” said Amber Dodson, Director of the New Mexico Film Office. “Optimizing the film legislation will drive this growth and expand the landscape for our local workforce, ensuring their economic security well into the next decade.”
The film industry supports some 8,000 jobs in New Mexico. The median wage of full-time resident crew was approximately $32/hour in calendar year 2022, compared to $18/hour in all other industries. According to a recent study by Olsberg-SPI, for every dollar invested through the state’s film incentive program, the benefit to the state economy is almost $8.00 in terms of additional economic value.