Last Chance to Save the Washington State Film Incentive

SB 5539, the Washington state film incentive (Dana Standish wrote a great article about it for Seattle mag), a bill that would entice filmmakers and film studios to shoot more movies on location in Washington state (versus taking their proven economic benefits to our neighbors in Oregon and Canada), is in dire straits. The House Ways & Means Committee, led by Representative Ross Hunter (D-48), is refusing to schedule a hearing on the bill.

Washington Filmworks, the group working hard to see this legislation passed, warns that if the bill doesn't get a hearing by its expiration date Monday, February 27, it could die.

It's important to note that this is an economic issue, not a "we wish Washington were more supportive of the arts" issue (although, that still goes). Film crews coming to our state amounts to more dollars spent in crucial areas of our local economy. If you're not inspired by the positive economic ripple effect projected for this small tax loophole (here's a quickie overview from the city's Film + Music dept), then at least consider this: if you like telling your out-of-town friends you've walked in the footsteps of Tom Hanks; that, yes, your life is a lot like Dr. Meredith Grey's; that you've totally seen a cameraman dangling from a helicopter circling the Space Needle; or that you can't believe the "Twilight" series wasn't actually filmed in Washington state, you should take two minutes to call or email your State Representative.

Your time spent can make a difference: apparently those busy politicians prioritize hearings based on which get the most phone calls.

From the Washington Filmworks Blog:

If you are a constituent living or working in the 48th district and are Represented by Ways & Means Chair Ross Hunter we urge you to write or call his office, asking him to schedule a hearing before the bill cut off of 5 p.m., Monday February 27th. Representative Hunter’s email is and his Olympia Office telephone number is (360) 786-7936.

Our legislative team has also recommended that those who live or work in the 43rd district call and write House Speaker, Representative Frank Chopp. First, thank him for his support. Then, acknowledging his position as Speaker of the House, ask for his assistance in securing a hearing. Ask Speaker Chopp to encourage Representative Hunter to take positive action on SB 5539. Speaker Chopps’ email is and his Olympia Office telephone number is (360) 786-7920.

Have no idea what district you live and work in? Check out this handy tool.