2012 opening day speeches gave some insight into the priorities of our State legislators in Olympia. Washington Filmworks was particularly eager to hear from House Speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-Seattle, 43rd Legislative District). As you may recall, Speaker Chopp was instrumental in blocking the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program in 2011 (SB 5539). Once SB 5539 reached the House of Representatives, Speaker Chopp linked it to a housing and homelessness bill that needed more votes. Since the housing and homelessness bill lacked sufficient votes to pass, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program was never brought to the floor for a vote either.
In his opening day remarks for the 2012 legislative session, Speaker Chopp laid out several priorities for 2012. Among them:
- Immediate job creation
- Support for industry development and innovation
- Creating family wage jobs
It is interesting to note that the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is a model of these priorities. Since 2007, Washington Filmworks has created more than 4,800 direct film production jobs for cast and crew. Our state’s film industry serves as a springboard for other creative industries that represent new areas of job growth and economic development for the future of Washington State. In addition, Washington Filmworks projects often represent the best paying jobs for film industry professionals; we continue to be the ONLY film incentive program nationwide that requires a production to pay health and retirement benefits for industry workers.
Many of the cast and crew who work on incentive productions are proud to call Seattle home. Speaker Chopp is an elected official representing the 43rd Legislative District, which includes the neighborhoods of Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, Wallingford, Freemont, Ravenna and Madison Park. If you live in the 43rd District and support the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, it is vital that you write Speaker Chopp. Remind him that our industry is primed to help achieve his priorities for 2012.
Get informed. Get involved. Get renewed.