SB 5539, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, was voted out of the Senate Rules committee on Saturday, February 11. It is likely that there will be a vote on the Senate floor in the near future and we urge film industry professionals to contact their Senators by telephone or email ASAP. For your convenience, we have included our sample letter below. It is also attached in .pdf and .doc formats. Feel free to adapt this letter and send it to your Senator.
To find your legislators, follow this link:
As always we encourage you to send us copies of your letters, as well as any responses or questions from elected officials, to info@WashingtonFilmworks.org.
Join us in Supporting Washington State’s Film Industry
On behalf of Washington Filmworks, we strongly urge our state legislators to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program during the 2012 legislative session.
Motion picture production gives back, providing thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity to the state. To maintain our state’s competitive position in this industry, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program was created and has been the best tool that Washington State has to win motion picture business, create jobs, and help fuel the state’s economy. Here are several reasons to support the renewal of the program:
- WF is the model for good economic development in the film industry. WF program is strikingly different from what is done in many other states. Incentive funds are targeted for expenditures made in the state, with local residents and businesses. Unlike other incentive programs, the economic benefit is not given to the approved production until after they have invested in Washington’s economy and hired local workers.
- The Washington State Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) completed a rigorous review of the program, and recommended that the program be renewed because it “is achieving the objective of maintaining Washington’s position as a competitive location for filming.”
- Since launching the program in February 2007, a total of 71 projects have completed principal photography with the help of funding assistance through Washington FIlmworks. This has resulted in $69.2M of direct spending in our statewide economy, with $31.2M being spent on wages and benefits for Washington workers and $38M being spent with Washington based businesses that rely on film work to keep their doors open and to employ their full time staff.
- JLARC estimated that each dollar spent in Washington by the film industry yields $1.99 of economic activity in the state and local economies. This means that the $20M of funding assistance committed to productions has generated $137.7M of economic activity (benefits 689% greater than costs).
- Washington Filmworks is the only program that requires health and retirement benefits for cast and crew members, helping to ensure that Washington film workers don’t need to rely on the state’s dwindling social services.
The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program has proven to be a viable and important economic development driver for the state. Without it the production industry’s investment in the state will vanish, as will the employment opportunities it provides. As a constituent in your district, I urge you to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program during the 2012 legislative session.