ROAD TO RENEWAL
LEGISLATIVE ALERT: ACTION NEEDED!
The fight to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program continues in Olympia. As we expected, moving the bill is becoming increasingly more difficult as the Legislature is trying to balance the budget in light of a $5.3 billion budget shortfall.
After being passed out of the Senate Ways and Means, the bill was referred to the Rules Committee. We expect the bill to be voted out of that committee shortly and then be up for a full vote on the Senate floor as early as next week. Our lobbyist and the Legislative Committee want to make sure that we have enough votes to get the bill passed by the Senate. It is crucial that every film industry worker write their Senators urging them to support SB 5539, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. Your elected officials need to hear directly from you! And if you've already written once, WRITE AGAIN.
Your letter should tell your personal story and convey how this program has impacted you and your family. In writing, acknowledge the challenging economic climate and empathize with the difficult decisions that elected officials are being forced to make, but then follow-up and emphasize that without this incentive, no film work will come to the state. Washington will be a "fly over state" and film industry workers will be unemployed. By renewing the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, legislators can be assured that Washington residents will continue to work and will not be forced to rely on the same social services that are being threatened in the current budget negotiation.
In your letter also emphasize the return on investment on our program and cite some of the compelling information listed below:
· $107.7 million in economic activity since February 2007.
· December 2010 JLARC study of Washington Filmworks tax credit has a multiplier of 1.99.
· 59 projects - 23 feature films, 4 television movies of the week, 32 commercials since February 2007.
· Companies exclusively in film provided 1629 jobs in Washington during 2009, as reported by JLARC and ESD. During the first three years of the program (2007 - 2009), producers reported a total of 2066 jobs (estimated based on Dept. of Commerce Surveys). In 2010 the jobs number rose significantly and producers reported creating 1155 jobs from their film projects (estimated based on WF Producer Reports).
· Washington Filmworks creates immediate jobs for Washington workers. Upon approval for assistance, film projects go into production within 30 days.
· Washington State is the only program in the country that requires a production to provide health care and retirement benefits.
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee
· Recommendation: "Because the tax credit for contributions to the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is achieving the objective of maintaining Washington's position as a competitive location for filming, the Legislature should continue this preference and re-examine the preference at a later date to determine its ongoing effectiveness in encouraging filming in Washington State."
If you voted for this elected official, remind them that you voted for them because they reflected your values and you hope that they will continue to do so with the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. Ask your elected officials to respond to your letter and ask them directly if they intend to support the legislation. To find your Senator, please visit the following link:
If you receive a response from your legislator please let us know by forwarding it to firstname.lastname@example.org