Dear CINEMA supporters;
I hope that you know by now that we’ve received approval for $5 million in new funding for fiscal year 2014-2015. This is huge news. $5 million! Sure, that’s not a lot compared to New Mexico or Louisiana, but it’s more than we’ve ever had before. This success is the result of a ton of work over the last few years. Let me catch you up on how we got here over the last six months, which are the most exciting. By the way, this is all from my memory and understanding. If anything is incorrect, it’s all on me.
Governor Hickenlooper released the proposed budget on November 1, 2013. This included $5 million in new funding for Colorado’s film, television and new media production incentive. Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee (JBC) heard weeks of testimony regarding the budget including testimony for and against media production incentives. Our lobbying team, led by Melissa Kuipers, made sure that the JBC members had good information answers to their questions in order to make their decisions. On March 13, 2014, the JBC submitted a budget to the Colorado House of Representatives for approval in HB14-1336, called the “Long Bill.”
The House began debating the Long Bill on March 27th. The next 24 hours saw seven amendments directed at reducing or eliminating media production incentive funding. Fortunately, the majority of the House had real data and real facts to evaluate and chose to support Colorado’s economy and labor pool. On March 28th, the House approved HB14-1336 and transmitted the amended version to the Senate.
The Senate began debating the Long Bill on April 2nd or 3rd. During the open debate, four amendments targeted incentive funding. All of those were defeated, but some by a slim margin. Because the votes were so close, Ms. Kuipers suspected that amendments may be brought up during the “Call of the Whole” (COW, seriously, I’m not making this up) where the entire Senate votes on proposed amendments. With just a couple of hours until this COW, the industry was asked to voice their continued support of incentives via email to key Senators who may not have realized how much their constituents supported incentives. Ms. Kuipers was correct and three amendments were brought against the incentive funding. All of these amendments were defeated with one only being defeated by a vote of 18-17. I think the revised bill will be sent to the House for ratification, but I believe our drama is over.
Wow. This has been an amazing roller coaster ride but it also represents a huge win for media production in Colorado. We owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people for this one. The biggest thanks, of course, go to Ms. Kuipers, Donald Zuckerman, Lauren Grimshaw and Courtney Potts. These are the people fighting for us every single day. I also want to point out that every person in our community who actively supports these efforts made a huge difference this year. We won by a single vote. When you question if your contribution makes a difference, think about that single vote. It made a $5 million difference.
Thank you for all of your support and here’s to a terrific 2014-2015!
Colorado Innovators of New Entertainment Media and Art