by Kate Newton
Over the last three years, state lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer have knocked down various efforts to restore the state's tax credit for movie and TV production in Arizona, which was in place from July 2005 until it sunset in 2010. Critics of the legislation say that it puts government in the business of picking winners and losers.
State Sen. Al Melvin is taking another whack at bringing back the tax-incentive program as the primary sponsor of SB 1242.
If the bill passes, it will set allocate $70 million in tax credits to benefit production companies filming in Arizona, provided they meet certain qualifications. To receive the credit, the studio must submit specific details of the production (such as relevant members of the cast, crew, and a script or synopsis of the film) and must spend at leas $250,000 here in Arizona to be eligible to get cash back.
Melvin introduced SB 1242 yesterday. He argues that the bill could create hundreds of high-wage jobs connected to movie, advertising and TV production. That would, in turn, stimulate other areas of the state’s economy, including the tourism, construction and the hospitality sectors.
“It just makes a lot of sense that we would level the playing field between ourselves, New Mexico and some other states,” Melvin told KVOA in December.
Tucson Film Office Director Shelli Hall has put together a list of “10 Reasons Arizona Needs a New Film Incentive,” which lays out economic arguments that might be more persuasive than just asking lawmakers to throw money at those no-good, immoral Hollywood types.