Rep. Eleanor Chavez, D-Albuquerque, just asked on the House floor whether the film industry was being singled out.
She wondered why the same questions weren’t being applied to the oil and gas industry, which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits, exemptions and deductions from the state of New Mexico.
“The film industry is singled out. I wonder if there is motive here,” Chavez said. “I wonder if it’s because this industry is highly organized. It provides jobs with livable wages.
Chavez’s remarks angered Rep. Donald Bratton of Hobbs, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, who reacted to the Albuquerque Democrat’s remarks.
“I take it personally when people stand up and attack the industry that funds this state,” said Bratton, who spent decades in the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas industry doesn’t threaten “to move every time we threaten to take something away” like the film industry, Bratton said.
“This is a subsidy,” Bratton said of New Mexico’s film production tax credit. “Tax policy and tax subsidy are two different things.”
Bratton’s remarks, in turn, provoked a reaction from Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, and the chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources committee.
“I cannot count how many times that representatives of the oil and gas industry have said ‘We’re leaving New Mexico because of the pit rules. We’re leaving because of environmental regulations,” Egolf said. “If we’re going to be straight in the debate, let’s be straight on the debate.”