Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
03/03/2015 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE
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SB 39-REPEAL FILM PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT 1:31:16 PM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL 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." She stated that this is the fourth hearing and public testimony will be taken. 1:32:17 PM ROBERT FORGIT, representing himself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He said he has been a professional actor since 1987. He mentioned the state's grim financial situation and the indefinite suspension of the film tax program and questioned eliminating it altogether. He said the state relies on one economic factor for financial stability and it seems logical to look at ways to diversify. He warned that the film industry is moving elsewhere not because the incentive program has been suspended, but because the state puts the fledgling program on the chopping block every year. This translates to dwindling investments and partnerships. If the suspension is truly a financial decision, he suggested exploring other ways to enhance revenue for the state. He pointed out that a suspended program costs nothing and buys time, but an ended program costs jobs. It stops a revenue stream into the state and sends a message that Alaska is not open for business. MR. FORGIT called on his Coast Guard background to draw an analogy. You don't jettison the lifeboats on a sinking ship in the belief that getting rid of the excess weight will keep you afloat. Rather, you focus on those lifeboats to save the people you represent. Alaska's film industry is a lifeboat, he said. Don't jettison it. VICE CHAIR GIESSEL invited the testifiers to submit written testimony to Senator Costello's office. 1:35:24 PM RONAN NAGLE, representing himself, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He related that he is a producer who works on television productions that benefit from the tax incentive program. The largest is called Ultimate Survivor Alaska that in the last three years has spent millions of dollars to hire Alaskans and vendors. He said that when he gets paid he spends his money locally and he steers production money to local businesses whenever possible. 1:37:32 PM MICHAEL BURNS, representing himself, Wasilla, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He shared an experience from 2012 when he and another independent filmmaker were working on a feature film to show how it benefited everyone involved. The tax incentive program made this possible. He said his goal is to make films in Alaska using local talent. 1:40:09 PM LISA KRISTY, representing herself, Wasilla, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. She said she's a teamster who believes the economy in Alaska should be diversified. The tax incentive program provides this opportunity. To eliminated the program altogether destroys what has been built in Alaska already. 1:42:04 PM At ease 1:43:38 PM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL reconvened the meeting. 1:44:06 PM CODY LAWHORN, representing himself, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He is a lifelong Alaskan who attended school out of state and returned home to begin his career in Alaska's burgeoning film industry. During the past year he has been writing a scripted drama for a television series that he plans to write, direct, and produce in Alaska. He's been working hard to cultivate relationships with local companies and plans to pitch his show to Net Flicks very soon. He believes the current fiscal crisis increases the need to create the show as soon as possible. 1:46:01 PM BRAD SWENSON, Co-owner, Gold Ring Group, Wasilla Alaska, testified in opposition to SB 39. He is currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota pursuing financing for a project, part of which will be shot in Alaska. When the story broke about the Alaska Film Office closing, his partner in L.A. called and told him to revise the budget to remove Alaska. He said the film industry is about business and the films will go to the best environment which will be based on the tax incentives. The film that is based in Australia and Alaska will probably be shot in New Mexico because of tax credits, he said. MR. SWENSON suggested all Alaskans consider that the oil industry has dominated the economy of Alaska for far too long. It's important to stand on other industries and the film industry is a large part of that picture. He concluded that he does not support SB 39. 1:47:47 PM VICE CHAIR GIESSEL closed public testimony and held SB 39 in committee for further consideration.