Colorado Legislators Reject Bill for Filmmakers Tax Incentive
Colorado’s legislators need to get a grip, pun intended.
I’ve attended a number of film festivals here in Colorado over the years, and my question to filmmakers has often been what they think of filmmaking climate in this state. Their answer has always been the same: Colorado needs to step up its tax incentive.
While Colorado is rich with filmmaking talent, but state legislators like Rep. Kent Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) seem ignorant to the potential revenue opportunities that states like New Mexico are enjoying. We’re talking $463 million dollars in just one year.
On Tuesday, March 18, the House Finance Committee shut out House Bill 1355, which would have increased the current tax incentive of 10% to 25% for filmmakers spending at least $250,000.
Even after the Colorado Film Commission pulled out the big guns, bringing in Irvin Kershner, who directed The Empire Strikes Back), John Aston, a Colorado actor and the director of Beverly Hills Cop), plus 15 other business and industry supporters to give some three hours of testimony, it was to no avail.
The bill was narrowly defeated, 6-5, by the House of Representative Finance Committee.
While this recent event is infuriating to those that see the amazing potential for our state to gain more power in the filmmaking game, the opportunity for our talent to stay here versus taking their skills, spending power and income tax revenue elsewhere, for the chance to spotlight Colorado and increase tourism, we have to give the bill’s sponsors kudos for their efforts. This includes House Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) and Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge), plus Senate sponsors Nancy Spence (R-Centennial) and Dan Gibbs (D-Silverthorne).
But the bottom line is that this is a big set back for all of us, since the bill won’t be able to be introduced again until 2009. Rep. Kent Lambert in a statement to the press, believed that Colorado’s state government shouldn’t be in the movie business. Well, Mr. Lambert, at this rate, we never will.