Earlier this afternoon, Rep. Ray Begaye, D-Shiprock, stood up to tell his colleagues how the film industry had brought jobs to his own Navajo nation.
Begaye made his comments in defense of an amendment to increase to $60 million what New Mexico can pay each year to TV and film productions that qualify for the state’s film production tax credit.
But not everyone trusted those numbers. Fellow Navajo lawmaker, Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, just addressed the House and wondered where Begaye had gotten his numbers.
“I heard my colleague, Ray Begaye, talk about how this is bringing jobs,” Jeff said. “I want to see statistics.”
She said she had spoken to several Navajo filmmakers who were divided on whether the $45 million limit was enough to sustain the New Mexico film industry.
“Why can’t we prioritize productions in poverty areas?,” Jeff asked her colleagues. “That’s my recommendation. If we are going to support this $60 million, I wonder if we can do an amendment” to say that.