ShareThis Page
Letters to the Editor

(Hollywood) Bright lines

| Friday, March 11, 2011

Trib readers react to the editorial "... Cut!" (March 3 and TribLIVE.com) advocating elimination of the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit:

Mike Matesic, president of Pittsburgh-based International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Studio Mechanics Local 489 ( iatse489.org ) -- Studies have been done over and over again which prove the credit is not a Hollywood handout but makes the state millions of dollars every year. My union grew from 90 members in 2006 to more than 300 today. One of my jobs is to meet with producers. I ask each one question: "Why film Pittsburgh?" The answer is always the same: "Your tax credit!" So before you get rid of thousands of jobs with the swoop of your pen, get your facts straight!

Robert Muscarella, Local 489 member -- Having film productions come to Pennsylvania doesn't cost the state a dime. They pay for permits, buy materials and supplies locally, rent the locations they use to film and hire people who live, work and spend money right back into their local economies. Your statement is completely false.

Paul Bucciarelli, Local 489 vice president -- Most of the studies that have concluded that the credit is beneficial to Pennsylvania's economy have not been commissioned by Hollywood and skewed to its best interests. The editorial is politicizing this issue at the expense of the state's residents. This appalling piece of fiction smells of special interests that are certainly not those of Pennsylvania's citizens or the film industry. Comparing it to the Marcellus shale issue is ridiculous in the extreme.

Norman R. Johnson, scenic carpenter and Local 489 member -- The editorial cherry-picked statistics and stated opinion as fact. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee funded an Economics Research Associates study that found the credit created a net gain of $4.5 million to state coffers while dumping $900 million into the Pennsylvania economy. When you add up direct taxes paid, sales taxes on all goods and services purchased and income taxes paid by Pennsylvanians employed in the film industry, you find that the state is picking Hollywood's pocket and giving it back the change. The film industry employing only .02 percent of the Pennsylvania labor force is true only if you count those people employed directly by filmmakers.

Heather Seok, executive director of the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association ( pafia.org ) -- The editorial made several inaccurate statements. Here are the facts since the credit was enacted in July 2007: $768 million in direct spending , $1.2 billion in economic activity, $40 million in measured tax revenues (this does not include revenues from various vendors and local businesses that don't track film revenue as part of annual gross receipts) and more than 10,000 jobs. The credit works and it needs to be supported.

Casey T. LaRocco, set medic and Local 489 member -- I struggled for 10 years to make ends meet, support my family and whittle away at my debt. When I had the opportunity to work on films here in Pittsburgh I was finally able to get ahead of my bills and have hope for my future. I am not rich. I am not a movie star. I am a middle-class worker who lives in Beechview. How dare you say the credit does not benefit anyone• I am a proud, hardworking American who needs this credit to continue. Please put your effort toward something that doesn't hurt people who are your neighbors.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me