News release from Beacon Center of Tennessee:
NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee today released its eighth annual Tennessee Pork Report, exposing more than $511 million squandered by state and local governments over the past year. The annual report published by the Beacon Center, the state’s leading free market think tank and taxpayer watchdog, is the only one of its kind in Tennessee.
Examples of wasteful spending outlined in the 2013 Pork Report include:
•A corporate welfare deal gone sour, costing taxpayers $95 million after Hemlock Semiconductor closed its plant and laid off hundreds of workers;
•$73 million in improper unemployment benefits, including cash paid to existing state workers and the deceased, of which only $15.3 million has been recouped;
•Wasteful film incentives to Hollywood elites totaling $13.5 million;
News release from state comptroller’s office:
Auditors from the Comptroller’s office found that the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission; the Department of Economic and Community Development; and the Department of Revenue have failed to ensure that public incentives for filmmaking businesses were properly administered. Auditors could find little to no evidence the incentives have led to new film producing facilities or permanent film jobs in Tennessee.
In 2006, the General Assembly passed laws giving the film commission authority to provide certain financial incentives to attract movie production companies to the state. However, auditors questioned whether the incentives provided have been properly determined and whether certain incentives intended for filmmaking facilities located in Tennessee have been improperly awarded to out-of-state businesses.
The Comptroller’s report, which was released today, can be found online at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/sa/AuditReportCategories.asp
The auditors found that incentive payments were based on expenditures that did not always meet the program’s guidelines or have adequate supporting documentation.
The audit also revealed a former executive director had a potential conflict of interest that was not properly disclosed. The former director’s spouse worked for a legal firm that was involved with at least three film projects which received incentives.
Auditors will give a presentation on their findings today at a meeting of the General Assembly’s joint subcommittee on commerce, labor, transportation and agriculture. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 12 at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville.
News release from Department of Economic and Community Development:
NASHVILLE – Changes to state law made during the 107th General Assembly will mean $2 million in anticipated funding for the state’s film incentive program, administered by the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission (TFEMC).
In addition, reforms to the state’s film funding grant formula will give smaller, indigenous film productions access to a larger share of available grant dollars.
Sen. Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) sponsored a repeal of the refundable tax credit available to film productions under TCA § 67-4-2109(j). The repeal will mean an additional $2 million in funding for the Tennessee Film/TV Incentive Fund .
Norris said the move makes TFEMC the “one-stop shop” for film incentives in the state and ends a complex system of incentivizing productions through both TFEMC grants and refundable tax credits issued by the Department of Revenue.
“We recognize the importance of the film industry not only to the economy of the state but to the welfare of countless Tennesseans whose livelihoods depend on it,” Norris said. “This new program simplifies, streamlines and strengthens our commitment to the film industry.”
Changes made to the Tennessee Film/TV Incentive Fund grant formula by the TFEMC are designed to promote the development of indigenous production and attract independent filmmakers by streamlining the incentive delivery process.
Under the new program, projects with budgets over $200,000 will be eligible to receive grants equal to 25 percent of their qualified Tennessee expenditures. Previously, the combined grant and tax credit system awarded a 17 percent grant and 15 percent refundable tax credit only to productions with budgets over $1 million.
“As part of Governor Haslam’s Jobs4TN economic development plan, the entertainment industry was identified as one of the key industries in which the state has a clear competitive advantage,” Bill Hagerty, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “I would like to thank Sen. Norris for his vision on this bill and members of the General Assembly for their support.”
The TFEMC is part of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
The Association for the Future of Film & Television, a Nashville-based lobbying arm for the state film industry, has planned a rally at the state capitol to support pending legislation that would give bigger tax breaks to those who film in Tennessee, reports the Commercial Appeal. The AFFT organized today’s Nashville rally to generate publicity and support for the state Entertainment Industry Investment Act, an incentives bill that would strengthen the state’s ability to compete for film projects.
Sponsored by a pair of Shelby County legislators, Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and Rep. Steve McManus, R-Cordova, the bill would bolster Tennessee’s lights-camera-action allure by offering studios tax credits rather than rebates for production expenses in Tennessee.
“This is about creating jobs in Tennessee, not just for actors and films crews but carpenters, drivers, the hotel industry, the stores,” said Falk, who will tote made-in-Memphis signs to the rally with such slogans as “HUSTLE! Stop the FLOW of Films to Georgia!!” and “We’re Walking the Line for Tennessee Movies.”
The slogans allude to “Hustle & Flow” and “Walk the Line,” two films shot in Memphis before the exodus represented by “The Blind Side,” the cable TV series “Memphis Beat” and Craig Brewer’s “Footloose” remake, all initially set in the Volunteer State but shot in Georgia and Louisiana.
— Note: The bill is HB555/SB354, introduced more than a year ago and not yet scheduled for a vote in a committee of either chamber. The Senate version was put in ‘general sub’ last year. The fiscal note estimates that passage would mean a loss of $35 million in state revenue next fiscal year and $25 million a year thereafter.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced key appointments today to the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission (TFEMC).
Bob Raines, who was most recently serving as interim executive director, is now the executive director. Music industry veteran Hank Adam Locklin will fill the newly created role of director of music and business development.
News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty today announced board appointments for the Tennessee Film, Entertainment & Music Commission (TFEMC). The TFEMC board represents entertainment industries across the state in music, film and television.
“This distinguished group of industry professionals brings broad experience and unique perspectives to the board and will help us continue to grow Tennessee’s entertainment industry,” Haslam said. “I’m excited to welcome them, and I appreciate their commitment and willingness to serve as we attempt to expand on the incredible industry talent and infrastructure already in place.”
“In Gov. Haslam’s Jobs4TN plan we identified Tennessee’s entertainment industry as one of the key clusters where our state holds a competitive advantage,” Hagerty said. “We look forward to working with the new board members to create the right kind of business environment in which the entertainment industry can thrive.”
TFEMC board members include: Mike Curb, Founder of Curb Records/Producer/Songwriter
Chairman of the TFEMC board
Curb has achieved more than 300 No. 1 hits; chairman of the Mike Curb Foundation; founder of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University, the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, and the Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College in Memphis; and is one of three trustee emeriti in the 150-year history of Nashville’s Fisk University. Curb’s name can be found on Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jay Frank, Senior Vice President of Music Strategy for CMT
Frank oversees music strategy as it relates to all of the network’s on-air and digital music initiatives for CMT, CMT.com, CMT mobile, games, touring and other businesses. He was the former vice president of Music Programming and Label Relations at Yahoo! Published “FutureHit.DNA” and sits on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Country Music and Leadership Music. Craig Brewer, Director and Screenwriter
Brewer is Memphis’s most distinctive director and screenwriter. He is also known for using Tennessee music to complement his films. His credits include: writer and director of Hustle and Flow, financed by John Singleton, produced by Stephanie Allain which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Three 6 Mafia and an Academy Award nomination for lead actor Terrance Howard; Black Snake Moan with Samuel Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake; and Paramount Pictures’ remake of the classic Footloose which stars Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell hitting theaters this October. David Porter, Songwriter and Producer
Porter is a Grammy Award winning songwriter from Memphis, who worked closely with the late Isaac Hayes to become one of the top songwriting and producing teams in the industry. His songs account for more than 300 million unit sales worldwide. Porter was the first African American staff songwriter for Stax. Some of his successful songs are “Soul Man,” “Hold On I’m Coming,” and “When Something is Wrong with My Baby.” David also includes in his credits “Dream Lover” performed by Mariah Carey and “Getting’ Jiggy Wit It” performed by Will Smith. Porter has also been inducted into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame. Susan Packard, co-founder of Home and Garden Television (HGTV)
Packard launched HGTV in 1994 to 6.5 million homes in 44 markets. Now Scripps Networks Interactive reaches more than 95 million homes and is seen in more than 175 countries. She has also served as President of Scripps Networks New Ventures and has led a team responsible for the worldwide distribution for the Scripps cable brands. Packard is a member of the Cable Hall of Fame.
“I’m honored to have been chosen by Gov. Haslam to chair this important commission, and I look forward to Tennessee becoming the No. 1 destination for growth-oriented companies in the film, entertainment and music industries,” Curb said.
These board members will serve alongside Carey Nelson Burch, TV agent for My Own Shingle; Rod Essig, agent for Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Rivers Rutherford, songwriter/producer for Universal Music Publishing; and Bruce Shine, mediator & arbitrator for the Law Office of D. Bruce Shine.
They are replacing Scott Borchetta, Ken Levitan, Lynsey McDonald, James Alexander and Dean Deyo.