Rival Harper has endorsed the tariff

HOLLYWOOD — Screen Actors Guild presidential candidate Melissa Gilbert has urged SAG’s board to backtrack on its endorsement of countervailing tariffs as a means to fight runaway production.

SAG set itself apart from the Hollywood establishment with its Aug. 16 vote for the tariff petition, which would require studios and nets who collect foreign production subsidies to pay a tariff of the same amount in order to distribute their product in the United States. The action came three weeks after SAG backed federal legislation for a wage-based tax credit to stem runaway projects.

Gilbert and running mate Mike Farrell said SAG’s dual endorsement on the issue is misguided.

“The petition will undermine efforts to enact legislation providing tax incentives aimed at keeping productions in the U.S.,” they said. “The petition asks the U.S. government to punish Canada for maintaining tax incentive policies that are almost exactly what we are asking Congress to adopt.”

Gilbert rival Valerie Harper has endorsed the tariff, saying they “would neutralize Canada’s unfair subsidies.” The matter is not on next week’s board agenda but could be reconsidered if one of the 48 “yes” votes seeks to do so.

In another election development, veteran thesp Renee Taylor has taken out a petition for a SAG national board seat repping the Hollywood region.

Taylor has endorsed Harper. Deadline for petitions is Sept. 12.

Harper has also received endorsements from Phoebe Cates, George Clooney, Kevin Kline and Liam Neeson. Gilbert’s latest endorsers include Atlanta branch prexy Dick Klinger and San Francisco president Anni Long.

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