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February 16th, 2011 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

Inbox: Lights, Camera, Tax Break

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The question in the article asks why the state is underwriting moviemakers’ expenses. Answer: simple math. For every dollar of incentive money, four more dollars come into the state. As a film worker I spend thousands of dollars a week in Oregon, at Oregon businesses that pay for schools and other state services. As a tax-paying citizen, the funding also comes back to the state through the taxes I pay to the state. 

I’m excited about a larger rebate. It needs to be enough to keep the local industry working. Last year I was one on thousands of film workers that travelled to Detroit due to the country’s largest incentive package. But they have to pay out-of-state crew because they have exceeded what they can supply. Obviously we have not done that with our current incentive (I know dozens of other Oregonians who chased incentive-driven productions to help build other states’ economies and infrastructures).…

I’m not a fan of industry playing states against each other for sweeter financial deals, but it is the world we live in. If Oregon can provide billions in tax breaks to keep the corporate heavyweights here, then this ‘drop in the bucket’ is a precious one; worth every penny.” —Drew Pinninger


“Because of the work these incentives bring to the state, our family has been able to pay our mortgage & bills, buy groceries, and (just barely!) keep our heads above water even during these rough economic times. For us, it has made the difference between making it, even if on a modest scale, and not. Like many of the commenters have noted, the cast, crew and services hired by out-of-town production companies are local, and can hardly be described as ‘fat cats.’ The major question raised in this article is the actual effect of these dollars on everyday Oregonians—Nigel’s reporting is usually excellent, but his failure to seek comment from any of the numerous folks actually living here and working in the field is a big disappointment. 

There are so many local people who derive all or part of their income from this industry—grips and electricians, camera and sound people, actors, wardrobe, transportation, providers of craft services & catering, etc. etc...you would be hard pressed to find any of them who consider the work these incentives bring to be a waste of money. A thriving film and video industry not only generates much needed employment for Oregonians and revenue for local businesses, it also raises the profile of our beautiful state. I think that the cast & crew members from this area are some of the hardest working people around, and believe that they play an important role in Oregon’s economic revitilization. This investment is worth every penny!” —Rachel Carpenter


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