Representative Ross Hunter has made his criticisms of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program public. You can read his assessment here, on his personal blog.
We encourage the film industry, and its supporters, to address these misconceptions in order to inform the larger community about the value of our industry. Here are some relevant talking points to consider:
- Studies – Representative Hunter relies on biased studies, cited as evidence, to make a point that production incentives represent bad economic development. These studies only evaluate the most aggressive incentive programs in drawing their conclusions. Washington’s program is dramatically different – we offer a return on in state spending only. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program has injected $69.2M into our statewide economy, with $31.2M going to wages and benefits for Washington workers and $38M to Washington based businesses. This investment in our economy has generated B&O taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes.
- Jobs – In his opening remarks to the 2012 legislative session, Speaker Frank Chopp cited jobs as the top priority on the agenda. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program has successfully created over 4800 jobs for film industry professionals. These jobs are family wage and provide health and retirement benefits for Washington workers. In this challenging economic environment the state should be doing everything possible to maintain existing employment opportunities; without this program all these film jobs will vanish.
- Investment in Washington – The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is simply not a Hollywood subsidy. It is an investment in maintaining an existing industry, one with a long history of bringing jobs and revenue to our state. With 39 other states offering competitive incentives, the honest truth is that without this program there be no film industry in Washington.
Representative Hunter states, “We obviously want to do everything we can to encourage growth [in the film industry],” yet he staunchly opposes our most effective tool to win motion picture business. His remarks illustrate that he is misguided about our program and the way the film industry works.
We are unclear if Representative Hunter is approving comments on his blog at this time, but encourage you to register and respond. Additionally, please email your responses directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is vital that Representative Hunter hear from the community so that he may better understand the opportunities our industry provides.