House won’t fight runaway prod’n in ’99

Task force to target issue

WASHINGTON — Legislation on runaway production missed its last chance for 1999 approval when the House Ways and Means Committee met Tuesday and did not bring the issue up for a vote.

Advocates had held out remote hope that Ways and Means chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas) would allow a measure to move forward that would create tax incentives for U.S. productions under $10 million. But Archer opposed the proposal because it would have cost taxpayers billions of dollars over five years.

Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) had planned to introduce an amendment on runaway production at Tuesday’s meeting but decided against it when it became clear it would only serve to anger Archer.

Now that Congress has turned its back on runaway production, at least for the current century, a group of Republican members of Congress has promised to set up a task force to continue exploring the issue.

Foley meets reps

Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who heads the House entertainment task force, made the announcement after meeting with a group that included reps from all three creative guilds along with some state film commissions.

Among those present was Directors Guild of America prexy Jack Shea, who said in a statement released Tuesday that the DGA “is encouraged by the substantial progress we have made in educating and gathering support in Congress” for runaway production legislation.

“Working with Congress is a difficult process, and results don’t happen overnight,” said Screen Actors Guild’s Catherine York, national director of government relations. York said the guilds and the film commission coalition known as Film U.S. will keep pressuring Congress to act on the matter.