Texas film industry lobbies lawmakers to help bring movies back to the state
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas film industry took the fight for funding to lawmakers today. More than $60 million was cut from the incentive program last session. They want that money back.
"We're not sending anything to Hollywood. Hollywood is bringing money to us," said Phil Schriber of Film Fleet, LLC.
Several Texas projects have moved to other states with more attractive incentive programs.
"This will all but shut us down and make us move out of the state," said Schriber.
Schriber isn't camera shy but he usually isn't in front of it.
"It's like being a film gypsy. You just love it," said Schriber.
Schriber runs the largest equipment rental business for motion pictures in Texas. He doesn't want to move.
"It drives me crazy," he said. "I know Louisiana has two or three projects going on right now that should have been in Texas," said Schriber.
In 2015, during the last legislative session, the state budget for film incentives dropped from $95 million to $32 million, the amount it was in the 2013 session.
"A Texan family suffers because of it. And that's where it really matters," said Carlton Caudle of the Central Texas Actors' Group.
The industry says it's a good investment. For every dollar spent on a movie in Texas, it returns $5.55 to the economy.
"I can feed my family and pay my bills and plan my life just like everybody else," said Transportation Captain Charles Coulter.
He is a born and raised South Texan. Coulter wants lawmakers to know, it's people like him, not Hollywood that are hurting.
"We need to keep jobs in Texas," said Coulter.
Governor Abbott supports Texas film incentives to keep the industry growing. They'll have to wait until the finale to find out if others agree.
"It's a win-win," said Schriber.
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