(Adam Kibourn) – I am the owner of Black Raven Films, a production company in Las Vegas, Nevada. We have been in business since 2009 and this year we won the Best Nevada Film Maker Audience Award at the Dam Short Film Festival with our film “Action! Action!”
The assembly is currently considering legislation, SB165, which would give transferrable tax credits to the film industry. As a Nevada film maker, I am absolutely OPPOSED to this bill.
I know the desire to help people is strong, and it doesn’t hurt that celebrities like Nicolas Cage make a personal appeal for such a bill, but the job of legislators is to create the rules by which we all play by, not to move the goal posts in the game.
Other states such as Louisiana, Iowa, Alaska, North Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts have seen what a boondoggle state funded film tax credits have become. In a report released April 29th, 2013, by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office, they found that their film tax credits cost the state $196 million dollars, while only bringing in $27 million dollars, a net loss to the state of nearly $170 million dollars in 2010 alone.
Those in favor of SB165 are solely looking at the potential good that could come from giving $20 million dollars to the film industry; what they are not looking at is the very real harm that such an action will cause. Yes, by giving $20 million dollars to producers with budgets over $500,000 you will bring more film work to Nevada, but at what cost?
By enacting this legislation, they will be creating an artificial bubble in production. It will no longer be driven by local markets naturally seeking out production services, it will be driven by $500,000 plus budgets for film work, artificially subsidized by taxpayer money.
Just as we have seen the devastating effects of poor legislation and federally subsidized programs in the housing markets, poor legislation in the film industry will have similar negative effects. By passing SB165, we will create an unsustainable industry that will rest upon state handouts. It will not be a healthy industry, it will be like an athlete you have pumped full of steroids. What happens to the film industry when you stop giving them the steroids?
Additionally, $20 million in taxpayer money is going to have to come from somewhere. In order to give $20 million to the production companies in credits, you will have to take it from somewhere else in the state budget. What other programs will have to be cut back because we just gave their money to a film company?
As a Nevada film maker, I do not need, nor do I want the state of Nevada to give me money. What I need is for my state to be equally fair to all Nevadans, not just a favored few of the rich and famous. Do not pass SB165; any good we might possibly create for one group will be at the expense of another.
(Mr. Kilbourn is president of Black Raven Films in Las Vegas)