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Hollywood asks Ore. lawmakers for tax incentives

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm •  Published: May 2, 2013

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Fake snow fell on the Capitol steps and an Oregon senator got a Hollywood-style makeover Thursday as film crews trouped to Salem in a bid to persuade state lawmakers to bump up spending to lure filmmakers.

Actors and executives from NBC's "Grimm," TNT's "Leverage" and IFC's "Portlandia" — all filmed in Portland — were on hand for the high-tech show and rally.

"This is an industry that's perfect for this state," Gov. John Kitzhaber told industry supporters who gathered at the Capitol. "It's a clean industry, it's a green industry, it's a union industry ... and it's going to be a real job creator for us now and in the future."

The Legislature is considering a bill that would double the funding available for production crews that make movies and television shows in the state. Producers said state incentives weigh heavily in their decisions about where to film new productions.

Chuck Sheketoff, director of the left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy, said the state's investment would be better spent on programs affected by automatic federal budget cuts — not the film industry.

"I hope our legislators are not wowed by the glitter of Hollywood," Sheketoff said.

The fake snow, Sen. Ginny Burdick's makeover and the set installed outside the Capitol were intended to highlight the variety of workers needed on a film set.

Kitzhaber proposes doubling spending on film and video incentives to $12 million a year and allowing video game and post production companies to apply for funding. The measure has passed a House committee and is awaiting action in the Joint Tax Credits Committee.

"If the caps are raised, literally the next morning production will flood here," said Dean Devlin, executive producer of "Leverage," a drama series about a team of do-gooders who fight corporate and governmental corruption. The show was canceled last year.

Devlin said the state tax incentives persuaded him to film in Oregon instead of Vancouver, British Columbia, which is known for valuable film incentives.

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