It is not so often that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP high command receive a direct request from Hollywood, but the chaos, casualties and injuries of the coronavirus pandemic have set a new standard. in more ways than one.
Seeking important steps to help the multi-billion dollar hampered entertainment industry recover from the mounting public health crisis, the Motion Picture Association, DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and The Independent Film & Television Alliance wrote today to the best Republicans in Congress, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the main Democrats.
And they were very specific: this is insurance, silly!
“This letter contains some recommendations to help our industry resume production and create jobs,” said the four-page letter that Deadline obtained and which was sent to the big dogs on Capitol Hill on Monday. If there is any doubt that unions and large corporate studios are marching to the rhythm of each other, just look at the signatures of MPA CEO Charles Rivkin, the National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA, David White, Chief of IASTE, Matt Loeb, IFTA Prez & CEO Jean Prewitt and National Executive Director of DGA Russell Hollander on correspondence that was sent to legislative heavyweights this morning (Read the full letter here).
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“So, as Congress examines additional legislation to address the serious challenges to our country’s public health and to help restore our economy, our organizations respectfully request that you adopt the following tax and other priorities,” the letter said. in what is essentially a shot through the legislative arc as COVID-19 cases flock across the country and into the Hollywood house itself.
“These policies would help jumpstart national film and television production, encourage hiring and improve the higher costs that must be incurred to protect the workforce in our industry,” add the studio and lobby group Netflix and the muscular guilds of a Hollywood that saw everything production stopped in mid-March, state, regional and local governments having imposed home support measures to control the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
Specifically, the MPA and the gang now want tax-credited hiring incentives, more write-offs for expected production costs, and more tax breaks for expenses related to the work of performers. “We are asking Congress to pass the Performing Tax Parity Act, which will raise the maximum income limit to $ 100,000 for individual filers and $ 200,000 for joint filers,” says the letter. in an update of the current emergency regime of several decades.
And then, as always in Hollywood, it is the protection of assets.
“The capacity of our industry to resume active production, whether on set or on site, is seriously compromised by the impossibility of taking out insurance to cover losses resulting from communicable diseases among stakeholders, teams and others people involved in production, “said the studio. and a united union letter tells President Pelosi, Senator McConnell and the respective leaders as new relief plans progress through Congress at this time.
“Without that, production – especially independent production – cannot resume at a significant level,” Hollywood said bluntly in what was a hot potato case for both parties in this election year. and essential corporate donations. “We urge Congress to develop a federal insurance program (or a guarantee to fill this gap) to cover commercial losses related to a pandemic in the future,” say states MPA, DGA, IATSE, IFTA and SAG -AFTRA, drawing a very clear line in the sand of the reopening for an industry that is still struggling to establish protocols and guidelines for a safe return to the lot and the sets.
Having already granted Congress a standing ovation following the adoption of the CARES law at the end of March, it should be noted that today’s correspondence comes as the contact talks between the WGA and the AMPTP are taking place. until work progresses. Right now, the WGA 2017 basic minimum deal will expire tomorrow – which could send the considerably weakened industry back if one of the parties decides to blow things up.
Granted, while a Jeffrey Katzenberg organized a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden who raised more than $ 6 million this weekend, the GOP can’t help but take into account the political realities of what there is to give Tinseltown a head start. Even though Georgia, rich in tax incentives, opens up and sees production approaching the restart, the main poles of the entertainment industry remain California and New York – which will not provide too many Republican votes in November.
On the other hand, as previous COVID-19 rescue packages have shown in recent months, there is a bipartisan appetite in DC at some level – and it’s a real Hollywood ending waiting to happen.
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