LB99 hearings on Friday 2/25
The afternoon of Friday, February 25 will be the hearing for Senator Coash’s LB99, the Nebraska Film Advantage Act. We encourage you to attend the hearing and bring a friend. Numbers do impress the Senators.
It is the right of any one to speak at the hearing but it is not necessary. Senator Coash has selected to speak representatives of the constituencies that will benefit from the Act. Many more speakers will not respect the Senator's scarce time.
The hearing will be in front of the Revenue Committee chaired by Senator Cornett who is a co-sponsor of the bill (stop by the info desk at the center of the ground floor for directions). Hearing are held from around 1 to 4pm. There will be several other bills heard that day and we will not know until mid-next-week what the agenda order will be. If you can’t hang out all afternoon call Senator Coash’s office
Where your voice needs to be heard is before or after the hearing. Stop by your Senator’s office (stop by the info desk at the center of the ground floor for directions). If the Senator is not in, register your support with the staff. If you are more ambitious you can be a real lobbyist. To the left of the doors to the legislative chamber (yes, in the chamber lobby) is the Sergeant of Arms’ desk. He can send a note to your Senator if they are on the floor. Your note can say “I am a voter in your district and I would like to visit with you for a few minutes about my support for LB99.” Usually, if they can come out within 10 to 20 minutes.
When they do respect their time. Here are the main talking points;
- Film incentives are a good thing: pick your favorite reason.
- The Governor has always insisted that any film incentive program in Nebraska must prove its value for Nebraska taxpayers. Senator Coash has designed a bill to address the Governor’s concerns:
o It make film production projects selected by the Department of Economic development eligible for competitive grants for a pool of money already set aside for economic development.
o Projects need to spend at least a million dollars in Nebraska and employ a local workforce.
o This is a pilot project that will expire in 18 months
o It will produce solid data that will allow the DED to evaluate the economic value of film production in the State.
o The data will allow us to design a permanent incentive package that will ensure a positive return for the State’s investment.
The experiences of other states where aggressive incentives proved not to produce a positive economic return or were subject to corruption will help Nebraska design a program that works.
And as other states drop out of the game Nebraska can be competitive with a still sensible incentive program.
At the very least write a note, send an email or phone your Senator. Tell them you support LB99.
NE Film Advantage Act Summary
LB 99, the NE Film Advantage Act, provides grants to eligible public or private production companies on location in Nebraska producing a feature film, independent film, documentary or television production. The bill creates the Nebraska Film Advantage Fund out of the Local Civic, Cultural and Convention Center Financing Fund. The Department of Economic Development will facilitate the application and funding processes.
Grant eligibility requirements include:
1) the company must spend $1,000,000 in below-the-line costs in the state;
2) the production must include at least ten NE employees working on set or in production in the state;
3) the company must match the funds provided by the state.
A maximum of $500,000 per project and a maximum of $1 million per company may be granted.
At the conclusion of the project, a representative of the production company must certify via affidavit that 1) the grant eligibility requirements were met; 2) the state of Nebraska was recognized in the film credits; and 3) the film has an anticpated rating of G, PG, PG-13 or R.
The bill has a sunset date of June 30, 2012 .
Nebraska Film Association
1625 Farnam Suite 700
Omaha, NE 68102
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