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WSLC urges renewal of film tax incentive creating jobs in state

OLYMPIA (Feb. 9, 2017) — At a time when the Washington State Legislature is struggling to fully fund basic education and other critical priorities, organized labor has joined many others in calling for the closure of unproductive state tax loopholes. That doesn’t mean unions oppose all tax incentives. It just means that legislators should ensure each of them are working as intended, which is usually to create good jobs in our state. If they aren’t, they should be repealed.

Washington Filmworks is a tax incentive that’s working.

HB 1527 and SB 5502 would reinstate a relatively small tax incentive — $3.5 million per calendar year for the next 10 years — called the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program to encourage film making in our state and attract a wide range of associated jobs and economic investment. Delegates representing unions from across the state approved a 2016 Washington State Labor Council resolution supporting Washington Filmworks and its renewal.

Why? Unlike tax incentives that are granted in the hope that they will spur investment and create jobs, filmmakers only receive Washington Filmworks rebates after the production is completed and the jobs have been created. That’s a guaranteed return on the taxpayers’ investment. The program also encourages productions to maximize in-state spending because incentive funds are only allocated for expenditures made within the state.

In its first 10 years, Washington Filmworks incentives have brought in an estimated $116 million in direct in-state spending and created more than 17,500 jobs totaling an estimated $53 million in direct wages and benefits. Over the past three years, projects approved for its funding assistance have spent money in every single legislative district in the state. (Learn more from this fact sheet.)

WSLC President Jeff Johnson testified last week in support of HB 1527 , sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), at its House Finance Committee hearing last week. Its companion bill, SB 5502 sponsored by Sen. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville), will be heard in Senate committee on Thursday.

The WSLC supports these bills and urges their passage.

Here are some examples of films and commercials made in Washington in recent years, creating many good jobs in the process.


And here is a 2011 video explaining the importance of renewing the Washington Filmworks.

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