A letter to Washington State House Democrat Kristine Lytton from Seattle's Women in Film.
Since we have not had an opportunity to meet with you face to face, we wanted to write a letter about the imminent sunset date of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) on June 30, 2017.
As the Chair of the House Finance Committee and one of the lead budget negotiators, we thank you for your diligence and hard work to create a budget that is both balanced and fair. While certainly we appreciate your vigilance around tax incentives, we feel compelled to write and remind you that not all tax incentives are created equal.
Having been forced to work in other states in recent years, we can personally attest to the fact that Washington State has one of the smartest production incentive programs in the country. Here are just a few reasons why…
We continue to have one of the most rigorous reviews in the country–and no money is paid out of the program until after jobs have been created for Washington workers and the projects have invested in Washington businesses.
Since launching the program in 2007 the MPCP has created over 17,500 jobs for Washingtonians and we continue to be the only program in the country that requires productions provide health and retirement benefits. Film productions happen all across Washington State and approved productions have spent money in every legislative district.
House Bill 1527 continues to be stalled in the House Finance committee. More than half of committee members are sponsors of the bill and at the hearing in Olympia on January 27th not a single person testified against the legislation. At that same hearing, the Washington State Labor Council and the Association of Washington Businesses sat side-by-side at the table testifying in support of HB 1527. This program continues to have wide spread support on both sides of the aisle.
We are Washington based filmmakers that have depended on the MPCP to help build our now nationally recognized careers. Collectively we have made 27 motion picture productions across the state that have spent an estimated $31M directly in our economy on wages and benefits for Washington workers as well as spending dollars with local businesses.
If the legislature fails to act this session, not only will we lose millions of dollars from approved productions but we will be the only place in the nation without a state film office. We ask you to work with Speaker of the House Frank Chopp to ensure that the MPCP is included in the final budget–the livelihood of the statewide film industry depends on it.
Thank you for your consideration.