December 21, 2018 – Host Gene Grant and our all-journalist Line panel are closing in on the top story of 2018. In this segment, they discuss the 3rd and 2nd biggest stories of the past year. Up first was the education lawsuit that will have long-lasting impacts on the state for years to come. A state judge ruled back in July that the state was violating its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education to all New Mexicans. Outgoing Governor Susana Martinez and the Department of Education were reportedly preparing to appeal that court decision, but Governor-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she will not fight the ruling. And now, officials are on the clock with an April deadline to come up with a plan to fix the deficiencies. At number 2 on this year’s countdown is the upturn in the economy, starting with the news that streaming giant Netflix will buy Albuquerque Studios and turn it into the company’s first production hub. Unemployment numbers also dipped in 2018, and the state coffers are bulging thanks to a new boom in the oil and gas industry. The panelists also discuss what leaders and lawmakers can do to keep the momentum going in 2019.
Line Panelists: Inez Russell Gomez, editorial page editor, Santa Fe New Mexican
Mary Hudetz, reporter, Associated Press
Andy Lyman, reporter, New Mexico Political Report
Jeff Proctor, reporter, Santa Fe Reporter and New Mexico in Depth
November 16, 2018 – Netflix plans to ramp up production in New Mexico following the planned acquisition of Albuquerque Studios. The company has committed to bring $1 billion in productions to the state in the next 10 years. That includes spending at least $600 million over the next five years on its own productions and another $400 million in direct and indirect spending, including leasing space to other production companies. Netflix is familiar with the state, having filmed series such as “Godless” and “Longmire” here, drawn in large part by the tax incentives offered by the state of New Mexico. Netflix sought additional incentives for this deal, including $10 million in Local Economic Development Act funds and $4.5 million worth of incentives from the city of Albuquerque. How does this deal fit into a larger economic development strategy in New Mexico? How important are tax incentives for development? What will the ripple effects be in New Mexico from the Netflix deal?