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New Mexico's Gov. Richardson comes to Hollywood, seeks Gov. Schwarzenegger's milkshake

July 16, 2009 |  4:35 pm


Some states are so hungry to keep their slice of Hollywood, they'll even send their governors here to drum up business.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, arguably the most unabashed salesman for his state's film and TV business, was at it again Wednesday night, talking up New Mexico's generous film-production incentives to more than 30 TV studio executives who gathered for an industry dinner Wednesday night at the Little Door, a Miracle Mile eatery.

In a 10-minute speech, Richardson touted the state's generous 25% production rebate, loan program and crew base that now comprises 3,000 workers. The event was sponsored by the New Mexico local of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union.

"I'm on a recruiting trip,'' Richardson, who last year sought the Democratic party's nomination for President, said in an interview before the dinner.

Since adopting its own film incentive program in 2002, New Mexico has emerged as a major rival to California, attracting scores of TV shows and movies such as the AMC TV series "Breaking Bad" and the action movie "Terminator Salvation."

The growth of the film business in New Mexico and other states recently prompted the California Legislature to adopt its first-ever film tax credits. The California Film Commission is reviewing its first crop of applications, but the credits won't take effect until 2011.

"If we want to compete, we have to hustle, we have to stay competitive," Richardson said. "We've got the incentives, free state land. We've got the landscape and excellent weather."

Spoken like a true pitchman.

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: A film crew prepares for a shoot near Taos, N.M., last year. Credit: Theodore Y. Bott / Associated Press