Movie ticket fee proposal dies on vine

DENVER — Moviegoers won’t have to pay an extra dime when they purchase a movie ticket, but they would be hit up for a donation under a bill a House panel approved Thursday.

Rep. Tom Massey had hoped to put money into a fund to pay tax rebates to production companies if they film in the state.

But because the Poncha Springs Republican was criticized by members of his own party for proposing adding a 10-cent fee to the tickets, something they routinely scoff at when Democrats propose new or increased fees, Massey took a step back. He had the bill altered to ask for donations from moviegoers.

Massey said his hope is to help Colorado compete with other states that put millions of dollars into tax-credit programs that he said earn those states millions more in increased jobs, sales and free promotion of their states.

“This program now is going to be entirely voluntary at the movie-theater level,” he told the House Economic & Business Development Committee, which approved it on a 7–5 bipartisan vote.  “In the current economic climate, when other states offer very lucrative production incentives, we miss out on the game by not having some. That’s what we’ve been trying to do for a number of years.”

Under the bill as written now, movie theaters would be allowed to collect donations and send them to the Colorado Department of Revenue, which would place the money in the state’s Creative Industries Cash Fund.

That fund, which Massey got the Legislature to create several years ago but couldn’t get much money put into it, is designed to offer a 10 percent cash rebate on production costs for movies, television programs, commercials, music videos, documentaries and video-game production.

To qualify for the rebate, producers must spend at least $100,000 in the state and have at least 25 percent of the employees working on their productions be Colorado residents.

The measure heads to the Colorado House for more debate.


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