Thursday, April 12, 2007

Legislative Nod for Film Industry in Texas

House Bill 1634, which provides incentives for film, television, and multimedia production industries, passed unanimously today on third reading. According to the Texas Film Commission, Texas has lost 29 films, $313 million in direct spending and approximately 4500 jobs to states that offer incentives. This bill has had a long journey through the legislative process already but when it finally made it through the House, it was without a single vote a dissension.

Personally, I think portions of this bill are too lean and I have a concern with one particular provision. However, in all fairness, I haven't compared the incentives to other states so my local government perspective probably means squat. And, even if I'm right, I think at this stage, you have to pick your battles. Better to get this bill on the books and seek an amendment in the next legislative session than to stall any longer.

On to the Senate.


Will someone please explain to me how the Legislative Budget Board can report to the Recreation & Tourism Committee that "No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated" in this memo? (which has bad information, by the way - I think the bill was amended after it was written)

Here's the thing. Isn't it BECAUSE we anticipate MONUMENTAL fiscal implications to the State that we even want this? Yeah. Yeah. I know you're talking about budget amendments and funding required to pass the bill but that's not what it looks like to non-government average Joes and filmmakers tracking the bill online. To them, it looks like the bill won't be funded. Besides, form memos feel more like they're reporting about congratulatory resolutions on 100th birthdays than critical legislation.

So, please --

(1) Word internal memos more carefully and consider the public relations implications of taking a cookie cutter approach to reporting on bills (yes, I do know how many you report on)

(2) Take this one off the web. Yeah, it's public record but if anyone wants to see it they can get it in Austin. Take it off. Please. It's not accurate anymore anyway and we look like schmucks.

Oh, and thank you. Thank you very much for the vote today.

HB1634 Legislative History Online
Texas Film Commission


E.C. Henry said...

See what affect having "The Grindhouse" shot in your state can have. Ah... the Tarintino affect.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

MaryAn Batchellor said...

It's about the fish that got away, not the ones we caught. That being said, the steam behind this began years before Tarantino and resulted in some legislation adopted in 2005 but it fell short of being effective. It didn't address interactive and digital stuff, didn't provide incentives that were actually competitive and left Houston out as an underused area. I don't think it was ever even funded. Not sure. Haven't kept up as much as I should have. The real mascot here isn't Tarantino, but we do actually owe a small amount of gratitude to a certain fictional character for making us get off our butts.


Unk said...

I trust that Texas will eventually get on board with some good incentives... Many many prodcos KNOW that you can just about shoot any kind of film you want in Texas but the film investment program in New Mexico is too tempting to pass up.

I for one will move in a HEATBEAT if Texas gets on board with some kind of an investment program akin to New Mexico.

I think that would be just about all it would take to get a TON of business back...

Glad to hear they're working on it... I have quite a few friends in Austin lobbying for massive changes...

Who knows?


MaryAn Batchellor said...

New Mexico and Louisiana have programs that have seen dramatic increases in spending and film crew jobs. I think it might help to get more A listers who live in Texas to become more vocal. For some reason, people take movie stars more seriously than everyone else. What a strange world we live in.

Laura Deerfield said...

These incentives were one of the subjects most discussed during the AFI International Film Fest here in Dallas. Many of the filmmakers there had a connections with Texas, or lived in Texas - but had chosen to film in other states because of the incentives.