State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, called Monday for an end to the taxpayer-funded Texas Film Commission amid the recent controversy surrounding Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.
“Over the past week, our nation has grown increasingly alarmed over allegations of rampant sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and others in the motion picture and TV industry,” Shaheen wrote in a news release. “What is just as troubling is an apparent culture of acceptance and coverup by many in Hollywood. This is profoundly hypocritical given these are the people who constantly lecture the American people on how we should live our lives. ... In light of these allegations I plan to file legislation during the upcoming 86th Legislative Session that abolishes the Texas Film Commission.”
The Texas Legislature will not meet again until January 2019.
Shaheen has targeted the commission and its film incentive program before. During the 85th Texas Legislative Session that ended earlier this year, Shaheen was able to pass a measure to end funding for the commission. Funding was brought back in the final budget.
During the Rick Perry years, $95 million went into film incentives for 2014-15. Under Gov. Greg Abbott, the program budget dropped to $32 million and currently stands at $22 million over two years. It is designed to lure movie, television and video game productions to Texas.
Other states are providing far greater incentives to attract the entertainment business. As of April of this year, Louisiana’s program was funded to the tune of $180 million, and Georgia’s (home of “The Walking Dead” and “Baby Driver”) sported $504 million in funding. As a story in Texas Monthly pointed out, Disney/Marvel now has permanent production facilities in Georgia.