Document:California Press Release 9 June 2000 Tax Dollars for Movies

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: June 9, 2000
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

Tax dollars for movies: Libertarians give thumbs down to new proposal

SACRAMENTO – A plan to provide state grants to low budget films produced in California was given a resounding "thumbs down" by the Libertarian Party of California today, who criticized the plan as "the worst idea since 'Waterworld.'"

"When it comes to bad ideas, the California Legislature has Hollywood beat," declared Libertarian state executive director Juan Ros. "We didn't elect our lawmakers to play movie mogul with our tax dollars. We hope this plan is gone in sixty seconds."

The $5 million proposal, introduced by Assemblyman Jack Scott (D-Pasadena), would provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 as seed money for experimental or digital films made in California. Other funds would be available to finished films and those in post-production. The proposal is pending in the Budget Conference Committee.

According to Libertarians, government subsidies of the arts always run the risk of generating controversy. "Who will decide which films receive grants and which don't? What criteria will be used for making these decisions? What about films with violent or graphic sexual content? Directors may be tempted to alter their screenplays in order to have a better chance of obtaining a grant -- allowing government to influence creative expression," Ros predicted.

"If films are denied funding because of their subject matter, the filmmakers will rightly complain that their freedoms of expression and speech are being curtailed. On the other hand, taxpayers who may be offended by such films shouldn't be forced to subsidize them," Ros added.

Scott's proposal is meant to curb "runaway productions" -- films shot outside of California in order to save money. "Assemblyman Scott's plan won't do a thing to change the high cost of making films in California -- rather, the state will simply be giving some filmmakers a handout. Instead, why doesn't Scott work to reduce the cost of filmmaking in California by eliminating regulation, cutting taxes, and easing labor rules?" Ros proposed.

"Mixing government and the arts creates a perfect storm that causes all sorts of problems," Ros concluded.

"The only solution is for government to stay out of the arts business. Movies should be free expressions of artistic creativity, not weighed down by political excess baggage."