While the nation’s eyes are focused on the Republican National Convention in Tampa, it’s easy to forget that state-wide elections will also be taking place in November.
While far less “sexy” than the race for the White House, these state elections are of particular importance to film and TV supporters in Oregon – because state Representatives and Senators elected in November will play a major role in determining whether Oregon’s film and television industry continues to grow and provide employment for thousands of Oregonians or stay at its current level.
To be sure, that “current level” is impressive. As we’ve previously reported, Oregon is enjoying record film and television production with industry spending reaching $130 million in the state. This level of spending has been spurred on by a very modest investment by the state, with only $6 million worth of tax credits per year going to fund the Oregon Production Investment Fund (the state’s film incentive program.) As state senator Ginny Burdick put it in late July, the state’s investment in this “seed corn” is truly a “win-win situation” for the state’s residents:
State Sen. Ginny Burdick, among those attending the “Grimm” Season 2 kick-off event, said she supports the incentive programs. As chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue, Burdick said she viewed the incentive program as “seed corn.” Even in tough times, she said, “the last thing you want to eliminate is your seed corn.” The revenue the incentives help bring to Oregon makes this, she said, “truly a win-win situation.” (Read the entire article…)
This massive return on investment would make increasing funding for the OPIF seem a “no-brainer,” and the governor’s office is indeed planning to recommend that the 2013 legislature double this investment to $12 million per year. The Oregon Media Association, however, notes that increasing funding to this level won’t draw new projects to the state – it will just cover the productions currently shooting in Oregon. As the Director’s Letter in the August edition of the organization’s newsletter points out
The Governor’s Office is recommending a budget of $12 million for the OPIF fund to the 2013 legislature. While this is a significant increase to the current fund available to attract projects to Oregon from out-of-state, it is in fact only enough to maintain the (albeit incredible) level of production that Oregon will enjoy in this calendar year. An increase in the level of film & television production will require an increase to the funding of OPIF beyond $12 million…
OMPA Government Affairs supports a larger OPIF, as it means more jobs for Oregonians in an industry sector that is extremely significant to our state, crossing boundaries of creative industries, high-tech, advertising, and international business. Content generation and media production does not consume scarce natural resources, is a uniquely American-made product, and gives Oregon the opportunity to continue to increase our role as a world-class production center. (Read the entire article…)
We here at Oregon Film and TV Dollars are over-the-moon when we look at the impressive growth of the state’s film and TV industry and the number of jobs it provides to Oregonians. Since we started reporting in 2010, we’ve seen three television shows set up shop in Portland (four, if you count the Real World Portland,) multiple feature films shot throughout the state, and a number of Oregon-produced projects created and sent out to market. We want to see this impressive growth continue so our industry can offer evey more jobs and revenue to the state - but continued growth depends on continued support from the legislature, and an increase in the funds to draw large out-of-state projects such as Grimm, Extraordinary Measures, Leverage, Twilight, Portlandia, and The Road to Oregon.
This is why we’re asking our readers to engage with candidates running for their legislative seats. Find out where they’re speaking; go to town-hall meetings and events. Talk to these candidates and make sure they understand how much money comes to the state from Oregon’s film and TV industry. Ask them if they support an increase in OPIF funding beyond $12 million – and if they do, let us know. With your help (and the candidates’ support) we can continue to grow Oregon’s film and TV industry even further.
We’ve managed to bring $130 million to the state with just $6 million worth of investment… consider how much could be brought to the state with $20 million worth of investment.