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Colorado budget committee says no to more state money to lure big movie, TV productions

Posted: 4:21 PM, Feb 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-27 05:36:34Z
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Photos: Top films shot in Colorado

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DENVER – The Colorado Joint Budget Committee has recommended against increasing the amount of state money available to lure Hollywood-style movies and other productions to Colorado, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade spokeswoman Jill McGranahan said.

The office is expected to ask the Office of State Planning and Budget to appeal that decision to the Joint Budget Committee and try to justify why the Office of Television, Film and Media feels the increase in funding level is needed, McGranahan said.

The Office of Television, Film and Media asked to hike the maximum amount of incentive money available from $750,000 to $2 million a year . Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, included the request in his 2020 budget.

The vote to nix the increase in funding was 6-0, State Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Adams County, who chairs the Joint Budget Committee, said Tuesday.

Denver7 did a report on Sunday showcasing various perspectives in the debate over using more state money to lure movie productions to Colorado.

A Littleton man who owns Lighting Services, Inc., a movie and commercial lighting business and sound studio, says the lack of incentive money is hurting his business.

He says he routinely sees productions going to other states because they offer more incentive money. New Mexico spends $50 million in incentives each year.

"We used to get as many as four [production jobs] a month. Now we're lucky if we get one in six months," Ken Seagren said.

He has sold off equipment and reduced his workforce in an attempt to stay competitive and keep his business going.

For every $1 put into the economy, $40 gets returned, according to the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media. The office says it has paid $16.1 million in incentives since 2013.

The state has recouped $13.3 million in tax revenue, but $111.2 million has been spent by producers.

Producers for "BlacKkKlansman" called the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media to inquire about state money to help offset production costs for the movie about a Colorado Springs police detective but were turned off by the state’s lack of incentive money, the head of Colorado’s film office, Don Zuckerman, said.

"BlacKkKlansman" uses images from Colorado Springs but ended up being shot in New York.

Other views

A local economist said state money could be used elsewhere if it wasn’t being spent on movie incentives..

“You are taking away some revenues, some of the taxpayer’s money, from schools or public road and public infrastructure – and that’s a cost,” said Metropolitan State University of Denver economist Alex Padilla.

Dozens of people offered their opinions on the request for more movie incentive money.

“My son grew up here, graduated from Emerson film school in Boston last year. He’s now in Hollywood. Would love to be based here but not enough going on. We could make a lot of diverse films here and that could bring not only on-set jobs, but also permanent jobs like visual effects, equipment rental, small studios, etc.,” wrote Wayne Aiello.

“Colorado should support movie makers and not marijuana/alcohol industries,” said a user named Orzechowski Robert on Facebook.

Another poster doesn’t like the influx of new people into Colorado.

“It will only bring more people to this already overcrowded state. Leave California in California,” Jason Price wrote.

Read more comments and leave your opinion below.