Sponsor signing on

Boxer to battle runaway prod'n

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a key voice in the runaway production issue, has signed on as a co-sponsor of wage-based tax credit legislation.

Boxer became the 11th senator to sponsor SB1278, introduced two months ago by Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-Ark.).

“In recent years, foreign governments have offered incentives designed to entice American film and television production to their countries,” Boxer said. “At a time when our economy is slowing, it is more important now than ever to put a stop to runaway production, which drains billions of dollars from our nation’s entertainment industry and economy each year.”

Big boost

Boxer’s support represents a boost for the bill’s prospects, since she reps the state with the lion’s share of production and previously endorsed a move by the Screen Actors Guild to seek countervailing tariffs against U.S. producers who obtain foreign subsidies. Boxer, asked why she hadn’t actively supporting SB1278 before, indicated that she didn’t want to scare off potential allies early on.

SAG has joined more than a dozen Hollywood orgs in supporting SB1278, including the American Film Marketing Assn., Directors Guild of America, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Producers Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America West and hundreds of film commissions. In light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, no one is willing to predict whether Congress will have the inclination to deal with runaway production this year.

Lincoln’s co-sponsors include Sens. John Breaux (D-La.), Max Cleland (D-Ga.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Arlen Spector (R-Pa.).

In another development, SAG heralded recent proposals by the Canadian government that could eliminate as much as $633.5 million in private investment by Canadians in U.S. films and TV shows shot in Canada. The tax-shelter loophole is scheduled to be eliminated as early as Jan. 1.

“We are delighted that the Canadian government is looking at opportunities to level the playing field,” said Lance Simmens, SAG’s national director of legislative affairs.

(Pamela McClintock in New York contributed to this report)

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