Lawmakers Hear Testimony on Film Tax Incentive Program
Supporters call it an Alaskan industry, legislators say it's a matter of dollars and cents.
So were most of the other people at the meeting, she said.
“It’s been amazing, the support’s been incredible,” she said, grinning, gray hair pulled back into a ponytail. “We are almost out of the little cards to send to representatives, we have passed out over 150 buttons already.”
The show of support didn’t fall on deaf ears, lawmakers said, but some still harbor concerns about the financial ramifications of the incentive program. Representative Anna Fairclough, a member of the House Finance Committee, said she wonders whether the proposed additional $200 million in incentives would be a prudent use of Alaska’s resources.
“I wonder, listening to the people that spoke today, whether they understand that the money that would be provided is coming from responsible resource development, and that is the monetization of oil from the North Slope,” said the Eagle River Republican. Behind her, next to the Alaska Film Group table, stood another table bearing only a stack of pamphlets titled “Alaskans United to Stop Our Oil Wealth Giveaway.”
With more than 80 percent of Alaska’s economy tied to oil and gas development, Fairclough said the future of the industry would determine whether the state could continue the film program, and she said the debate over oil and gas taxes was closely tied to a decision on film incentives.
“We need to be fairly confident that we can actually sustain and pay those credits on into the future,” Fairclough said. “If we have limited funds projected into the future, then how can we extend the program if we know that those are going to be in decline?”
When it comes to Alaska’s economy, she said film is just the tip of the iceberg.