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Martinez Blinks

July 27, 2011
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Go Figure.

Gary Johnson is a libertarian-Republican.  The Pink Flamingo voted for him for governor of NM twice.  I would be honored to do so again.  Johnson should be a tea party darling, but he has too much horse sense.  If Johnson thought the tax incentives for the film industry were a good thing, then why doesn’t Susana Martinez?

“…In an interview in Manchester, N.H., in June 2011 with the New Hampshire Business Review and thelobbynh.com, Johnson cited a 15 percent film production tax credit he signed in 2002, his last year in office, as the type of pro-business tax relief that can help create jobs.

Under the incentive, spending on production and post-production film and television work subject to New Mexico state taxes, including wages paid to state residents and nonresident actors working through a personal service corporation, can generate a tax credit now worth up to 25 percent. (The program was capped at $50 million worth of tax credits available annually as of July 1, 2011.)

“They passed a film incentive bill in New Mexico. The idea was to make New Mexico the second Hollywood. I signed the bill. I said I’m going to sign this bill but doesn’t everyone see that we could be doing this for every business in New Mexico? … It will happen. This will happen. But why the film industry? Why not all of us that have been here working all this time,” Johnson said….”

Doesn’t quite make sense, does it?

Susana Martinez is a fool.  The Pink Flamingo voted for her once, but I will NEVER EVER do so again.   She talks the big tea party smear about being for business, lowering taxes, and growth, but when it comes right down to it, she’s against it.

Explain why you want to destroy this?

“…New Mexico’s 25 percent incentive has lured 159 major productions in the past nine years, harvesting almost $4 billion in economic impact and paying out $253 million in rebates, according to that state’s film office….”

NM’s Very Own Glam Girls of the GOP, Governor Susana Martinez as blinked.  She has agreed to “honor” contracts signed before she took office.

Doesn’t that sound a little cheesy?

She talks about responsibility, honor, tea party “honesty”, etc. but was NOT going to honor contracts signed for the film industry by her predecessor.  Please, also take into consideration, dear Pink Flamingo Reader, that Governor Martinez is an attorney by trade.  She knows if you don’t honor LEGAL contracts you get your you-know what kicked to you know where.

Let’s be honest here, the only reason Martinez is “skeptical” of “Hollywood” is because the growth of the film industry in NM is Bill Richardson’s baby.  It appears to more than a few, the only reason she wants the incentives killed is not to save money, but to take a swipe at Richardson.

Variety

“...That tension, in part, flowed from Martinez’s skepticism of “Hollywood,” as she often refers to the film industry, regardless of whether it includes the local film community or executives in Los Angeles. In taking a hard-line approach against the film industry during more than half a year in office, Martinez has distinguished herself from her predecessor, Gov. Bill Richardson, who is often viewed as a film-industry booster.

Arguing that the state’s film-incentives program was too rich, Martinez persuaded state lawmakers to cap payouts at $50 million a year. Another argument she used was that the state’s annual payout of film incentives made budgeting unpredictable. Under the old rules, annual payouts often changed from year to year. For example, New Mexico will pay around $100 million in film incentives for the state budget year that just ended, up from $65.9 million for the previous year.

At the time of Connors’ email, however, Marvel Studios did not know how the Martinez administration would settle the question of whether to honor The Avengers’ previously signed agreement. By then, the Martinez administration had debated the issue internally for months, with no decision — a situation that ostensibly set the Martinez administration and film companies on a potential collision course.

The June 16 email wasn’t Connors’ first to Martinez administration officials. The Marvel Studios executive had begun emailing in January to make sure The Avengers would still qualify for a 25 percent rebate on qualified expenses, as its agreement with the state stipulated.

In January, Martinez was lobbying state lawmakers to lower to 15 percent from 25 percent the rebate paid to qualifying productions.

“Sorry to pester you, but I have a lot of nervous people on this production!” Connors wrote in a Jan. 20 email to Martinez’s chief of staff, Keith Gardner.

A day later, Gardner assured Connors in an email by referring to an opinion from the governor’s assistant legal counsel that found Marvel’s agreement was a “legally enforceable agreement.”

By March, however, a shift had taken place. In a March 9 email to Gardner, Mary Ann Hughes of Disney’s film division asked if the grandfathering clause spoken of in January still applied to current productions.

“I did send the information below to Tim specifically (referencing Gardner’s January email to Connors) as it relates to The Avengers but it would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis on any other contracts,” Gardner wrote to Hughes in a follow-up email.

At some point, however, the administration appeared to back away from honoring even The Avengers agreement, judging by Connors’ June 16 email. And Connors’ frustration showed.

“As I have expressed to both of you and to the Governor personally, we fervently want to avoid resorting to the courts because we understand the negative impact publicly surrounding a lawsuit will have on the local industry we have been committed to supporting in New Mexico,” Connors wrote. “We have done everything we can to avoid that necessity over the past several weeks since we first heard from the film office and Tom Clifford that the state did not intend to honor our agreement.” …”

NM’s Glam Girl Governor of the GOP is not the mos thick-skinned of elected officials.  She appears to have no sense of humor.  She also appears to be really interested in bringing in people to create new commissions to study how to spend money in education in New Mexico, and not interested in listening to the teachers themselves.  (I know a few teachers – all Republican – none are happy with her insanity when it comes to education).

She claims to be pro business, but undercuts the film industry.  New Mexico doesn’t have all that much industry other than petro-chemical.  We need the film industry.  It employs a heck of a lot of people.  Instead, she would rather rain additional taxes down on their heads, proving, like other “tea party” leaders she can’t be trusted with the truth.

NM is considered one of the worst states in which to start a new business.  It’s about the taxes stupid.  Funny thing, though,  Martinez hits the film industry with changes in tax status, but leaves her buddies in the oil industry alone.

This is a heck of a lot of money for New Mexico.

NM Film Commission

What gets me, is that, typical for the tea parties, there is no rational wisdom in her actions. If she were true to conservative roots, her desire to cut back on tax incentives for the film industry here would be a crock.

New Mexico is a very small state when it comes to income and monies flowing into the state.  We need all the help we can get.  Martinez is NOT helping when she is killing the goose that is laying a golden egg.

“…But IATSE local head Jon Hendry, who backed Martinez’s gubernatorial opponent Diane Denish, insists that reverberations from the law change can already be felt.

“Fall is not looking great,” says Hendry, while taking a break from the independently financed mystery thriller “Odd Thomas.” “Everyone here is a little worried. People like certainty, and it’s kind of ‘wait and see’ right now.”

According to Eric Witt, who served as Richardson’s media honcho and now consults for Albuquerque Studios, “We lost three films because of uncertainty and the rhetoric that was going around: ‘Lone Ranger,’ ‘Iron Man 3′ and ‘Oblivion,’ the new Tom Cruise movie.”

While perceived political animosity from the new administration threatened to send those productions elsewhere, Witt and others within the local industry spent the past few months lobbying them to stay, succeeding with both “Lone Ranger” and “Iron Man 3.”

Nevertheless, the industry remains cautious. Although New Mexico’s 25% credit remains largely intact, Martinez has called for further cuts to the state’s incentives program (the state’s unique interest-free loan program, for instance, has been replaced by a standard market-rate offering). Still, few believe she will get any additional trims past the state’s Democrat-controlled House and Senate given the estimated 8,000-12,000 people employed directly in the state’s film and TV business.

Still, the former district attorney, who takes frequent jabs at Hollywood and unions, has already dismantled the state’s film office by cutting its staff in half. Director Lisa Strout ankled in January and has moved on to her native Massachusetts to take the reins of that state’s busy film office. Last month, former New Mexico Independent Power Producers exec director Nick Maniatis was tapped to replace Strout. He says resources and manpower will continue to be devoted to film, but with an eye toward attracting more episodic series, post-production facilities and endeavors related to digital media and the arts.

“My goal for this office is to help create long-term, well-paying jobs for New Mexicans in an industry that can sustain itself for years to come,” Maniatis says.

But Hendry says the film office moves and the six-month vacancy on the director post offer a clue to the governor’s priorities.

“She (was) in no hurry to fill that post,” Hendry says. “I think it’s going to be a long education process for (Martinez) to realize how important we are to this state’s economy.”

For her part, Martinez is remaining tight-lipped about the state’s incentives program. The governor declined to comment for this report.

For his part, Arnold insists the next 12 months look stronger than ever. In fact, Albuquerque Studios has six holds in place for major studio films that are all scheduled to begin lensing in August and September….”

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