Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/03/2015 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Moved SSSB 15 Out of Committee
Moved SB 47 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            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.                                                                                            

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