Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eric Witt Now Heads Movie Group

In today's New Mexican, I reported on former Bill Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley going back to his old employer, KOAT. Now we learn where another top Richardson aide has landed.

This morning the newly formed Motion Picture Association of New Mexico emailed this news release. Check out who's executive director:
Facing a potentially industry killing reduction, the Motion Picture Association of NM (MPANM) today defended the current 25% state incentive for the film industry. A ‘roll back’ to 15% is being proposed as part of the governor’s new budget.

“By getting into the film business early, New Mexico has gained a major strategic advantage over states that are just now adopting incentives like ours,” said MPANM Executive Director Eric Witt. “It would be unwise to eliminate that advantage now, when so many jobs in the state depend on every aspect of local filmmaking.”

Witt instead suggested a comprehensive study of the direct and indirect economic benefits involved in the incentive program.

“While I firmly believe the industry has a huge positive impact across many sectors of the state’s economy, there has been enough muddying of the waters in the media regarding so-called ‘competing’ studies to cause confusion,” said Witt. “Film has been the most successful new job growth and economic development sector in the state for many years. We need a thorough, accurate study conducted by an independent firm that all parties agree is reliable.”

Different studies in recent years have delivered greatly divergent assessments of the net cost or benefit to the state’s 25% film incentive.

“Ideally, we should use the upcoming forum to really focus attention on this issue and come to some consensus about the value of the film industry to jobs and tax revenues in New Mexico,” said Witt.

The film policy debate, jointly sponsored by the MPANM and the Rio Grande Foundation, is at 4 PM today at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The Motion Picture Association of New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Business Weekly, was started last year by former GOP gubernatorial hopeful Doug Turner and his brother Adam Turner.

Corrected 10-12-11:  The correct name of the the publication I linked to above is New Mexico Business Weekly, not the "New Mexico Business Journal" as originally stated. (Thanks, Harold!)