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news: SB-1242 DEAD; No Tax Incentives This Year
March 1, 2013
Unfortunately, the AFMC and other industry groups have decided to stop efforts to get a new tax incentive program passed in the legislature for the current session. Following is a letter of explanation from Mike Kucharo, current president of the AFMC.
Report to the APA on the status of SB-1242
I sincerely wish I had better news, but the window of opportunity we had to get some traction on passing the Multimedia Production Tax Incentive bill, SB-1242, has closed. The hard work to try and stay one step ahead of the opposition was successful, but with every new approach we used, there was an equal effort to close doors we had already opened. The current legislative leaders were generally not supportive of our cause, so it became painfully evident that we are trying to push a bill that had little chance of success. It is important to note that throughout this process during the last three years that in every committee and everyfloor vote, we prevailed - we know that with support from leadership this legislation would have ultimately passed. Nevertheless, that support was not forthcoming, creating an insurmountable block to us. We have faced many obstacles intended to stop this legislation at every turn and it finally proved that any successful action on the bill would be impossible this term given the current political climate. SB-1242 became too politically divisive and a line was drawn, not over the merits of the bill, but over the use of tax credits. Our supporters in the legislature knew this and were becoming skittish about taking a stand with us in what seemed to them to have become an ideological debate rather than a winnable effort. By continuing to fight the system we probably would have ended up losing more than we could have gained and still have had nothing to send to the governor who also didn't seen to like it. Consequently the AFMC, with the other stakeholders, decided that the most prudent course of action for us to continue our fight to create Arizona production jobs was to stop pushing a bill that was destined to fail. Instead we are refocusing our efforts to broaden public/private support statewide for the industry to build a base of support that will be hard to overcome. It may be difficult to understand why the leadership in Arizona doesn't want to incentivize a proven industry that would benefit so many areas of our state. The arguments are varied, but they come down to a firmly held conviction by a handful of people that incentives for the location production industry are not a good use of taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, some in that small group currently hold the reins of power in Arizona.
Rest assured that the AFMC hasn't given up. We are going back to the drawing boards to come up with short- and long-term plans for how to reinvigorate this industry in the state and make it into the powerful economic driver it once was. Rather than putting all our eggs in one basket as we have for the last four years, we need to take a multi-pronged approach. It will be much harder for the opposition to fight us on several fronts and our chances of success will be greatly magnified. We appreciate each APA member's efforts in the past and look forward to moving forward together in the future. If you want to take action, we ask especially that you thank Senator Al Melvin who was committed to this bill - and especially to the jobs it would bring to Arizona -- until the bitter end. We will need him and the others who were with us to accomplish our objectives in the future, so it is very important that we don't alienate anyone in state leadership now. Please if you wish to express your disappointment, do so in a constructive way. Mike Kucharo, APA Board Member; President, Arizona Film & Media Coalition
Editor's Note: To thank Senator Melvin by email for his efforts on behalf of our industry, use this address: firstname.lastname@example.org