January marks the beginning of the 2016 Legislative Session, where my colleagues and I return to the citizen legislature in Olympia. We have a lot of big issues to tackle, including the supplemental budget, but I want to start off by sharing one of my legislative priorities this year, as well as the changes in my office.
With the success of TV shows like Z Nation that are filmed in Spokane, I am asking my colleagues to join me in supporting an important measure that will not only keep jobs in Washington state, but potentially increase them. When filmmakers look for locations to film, they always want to know how much it’s going to cost. Many states offer a tax incentive to entice films to be made in their communities. Washington is no different, with the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. The program is simple: offer a partial tax credit on the expenses paid to in-state workers and companies. Companies come from out-of-state, spending money, hiring local individuals and companies, and boosting our economy.
Many local businesses benefit from this credit but the law is set to expire next year if the legislature doesn’t act. I’m seeking to renew the program and gradually expand it over time. One problem we have is that the last two years we’ve run out of money in the program by March and April. That means fewer companies seeking to film in Washington by the time summer hits, losing over $65 million in economic activity last year alone. Instead of letting these film crews set off for other states, like Oregon which has a $10 million program compared to our $3.5 million, we should expand the opportunity to bring business to Washington.
Meet my new intern, Josh
I’m very excited to introduce my office intern this year, Josh Babb. He’s a great asset to my office and his talents are very much appreciated. Here’s a short message from him.
My name is Josh Babb and I’m currently a senior at The Evergreen State College enrolled in the legislative internship program. I’ve called Olympia home now for almost four years, coming to Evergreen from Atlanta, Georgia. While at school I’ve studied political science and international relations with a focus on the Middle East.
Do you know someone aged 14-16 that is interested in learning more about state government?
It’s an exciting year and a short session, so there’s a lot to do. I have several other bills I plan on introducing soon so check back for our next message.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you have questions about a bill or a policy or have something to share. It is an honor to serve you.
Representative Marcus Riccelli
3rd Legislative District – Spokane