Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
02/26/2015 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE
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SB 39-REPEAL FILM PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT 2:11:22 PM CHAIR COSTELLO reconvened the meeting and announced the consideration of SB 39. "An Act repealing the film production tax credit; providing for an effective date by repealing the effective dates of secs. 31 - 33, ch. 51, SLA 2012; and providing for an effective date." 2:12:15 PM SHARON HAWN, representing herself, Wasilla, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She reviewed the history of film production in the state including her involvement, and offered her belief that the bill intends to eliminate the program altogether. 2:19:19 PM JACY PETERSEN, representing herself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She explained that she is a CPA who conducts audits for the film tax verification and she has seen that the tax credit program brings business to the state and jobs for Alaskans. 2:21:58 PM TESS WEAVER, representing herself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She talked about her personal experience and professional training in film production and said she doesn't want to leave Alaska to continue to pursue her career. The money she receives is recycled through local businesses. She asked the committee not to take away what she and others have worked so hard to create. 2:23:33 PM MICHAEL COLLIER, Random Acronym, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He spoke of the all-Alaskan project he is undertaking and said that without the tax incentive all the money has to be returned to investors and the 70 jobs will disappear. He said that films could be a billion dollar industry for Alaska and would provide security in the current fiscal crisis. He cautioned against killing an industry that could help to diversify the economy. 2:26:10 PM LEVI TAYLOR, Crooked Pictures, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He spoke of wanting to be an inspiring filmmaker since middle school. His first successful film won major awards in Hollywood and he was offered opportunities to stay there and continue to work. However, because of the film incentives he was able to return to Alaska. What he noticed is that the industry has grown impressively in a short time. He urged the committee not to kill a rising industry that offers diversity. 2:27:27 PM LAURA LIMKINS, Epicenter Productions, Eagle River, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She reviewed her 25 year history with the industry in Alaska that includes developing an educational series about perpetuating Alaska languages and culture. She pointed out that eliminating the film tax credit won't do away with the reality shows, but it will do away with the large productions that come to the state. She urged the committee to think about how the film tax program diversifies the economy and strengthens its foundation. 2:29:19 PM MARY WASCHE, representing herself, Eagle River, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She recounted her story as a senior citizen who is trying to become a fiction writer. She was at the signing stage when this legislation stopped the project. She pointed out that keeping the film incentive program will allow creative writers to present the state as it really is, not as it's being depicted by reality shows. She said the numbers show that this program is a tiny portion of Alaska's serious budget deficit, and keeping the program could bring growth and dollars to the state. 2:31:57 PM DEBORAH SCHILDT, President, Alaska Film Group, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She said she has worked in the industry for 30 years and the state's current fiscal crisis is brought on in part by its lack of economic diversity. It didn't happen overnight. She cited data from the 2013 Feature Film Production Report to refute the prior testimony from the Manhattan Institute claiming that Alaska's film program didn't pencil out. The figures show that substantial numbers of jobs and revenue come to states that have a film incentive program in place. She emphasized that the key is to have a program that is in place and that is where Alaska has to stay if it wants to compete. Breathtaking scenery is no longer enough; locations are trumped by economic realities. She urged the committee not to shut the door on diversity the state needs today and in the future. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Ms. Schildt to send a copy of the 2013 Feature Film Production Report and she would distribute it to the committee. 2:35:07 PM BOB CROCKETT, General Manager, Piksik, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He talked about recently being in the field with a crew of 20 Alaskans filming in Talkeetna and outside Whittier. He said Piksik invested millions in the film industry because they had a commitment from the state for 10 years. Last session the time to realize a return on those investments was reduced from 10 years to 4 years. With the introduction of SB 39 they're looking at a sunset on July 1, 2015, which is a daunting challenge for any business. He opined that the answer to the state's current fiscal crisis is diversification and the film industry is on the right track to provide that. Governor Walker's actions suspended the program, but if SB 39 passes it will be permanently closed. 2:37:59 PM MAYA SALGANEK, UAF Film Program, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She refuted the testimony from the Manhattan Institute and talked about the number of her students who are actively employed in the film industry. She pointed out that film makers prefer to hire local, trained talent and the UA Regents consider the UA film program to be of high importance. She said if we want Alaskans to take the lead in developing 21st Century high tech jobs in media communication, then maintaining the tax incentive program is the first step. 2:41:56 PM NATALIA LAMONT, representing herself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She related her experience writing scripts and working on a set, and expressed hope that she would see a film produced in the Yupik language with Native actors in her lifetime. She asked the committee to keep the film incentive program alive. 2:45:10 PM IRENE BEDARD, President, Sleeping Lady Films Waking Giant Productions, testified in opposition to SB 39. She emphasized that keeping the film credit is an affirmative move for the state. She described films that highlight Native life and culture and opined that it would be a shame to export that to Canada. 2:49:41 PM KEN LANDFIELD, representing himself, Homer, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He questioned how eliminating the tax credit program will help the state treasury to any substantial amount. The Governor already suspended the program and eliminating it will do nothing but harm. He urged the committee not to kill the program. 2:52:02 PM JAMES WALKER, Walking West Entertainment, Los Angeles, California, testified in opposition to SB 39. He talked about traveling the state in the last two years to explore the economic and commercial climate to better understand how to work hand-in-hand with Alaska entrepreneurs, educators, and artists to utilize the tax incentive program to generate a viable and profitable motion picture industry that can help incubate other technology driven industries. He said Alaska can be more than just a film destination by establishing jobs in the post- production phase of the motion picture and television process. These high skill jobs can last up to two years and include film editing, visual effects, animation, music scoring, data management, software development, engineering, and programing. MR. WALKER said that contrary to testimony from the Manhattan Institute, post-production companies are training local Alaskans in permanent jobs that will ensure not only their economic vitality but that of their families, communities, and the state. 2:57:26 PM CHAIR COSTELLO requested that individuals contact her office before calling from offnet locations to testify on SB 39 on Tuesday 3/3/15. [SB 39 was held in committee.]