Newsflash: 'America is under attack. Not
from Osama bin Laden, but from our peaceful neighbours to the
LOS ANGELES - The Canadian film industry dodged a bullet three
weeks ago, though few seemed to notice.
The California Legislature, hacking through hundreds of
last-minute bills to finish a budget that was already a record two
months late and a boggling US$24-billion short, quietly killed a
ballyhooed proposal that would have handed Hollywood $650-million in
taxpayer bribes to resist the midnight urge of "runaway
The measure, had it passed, would have given U.S. producers of
movies with budgets under US$10-million a 15% tax credit on the
first US$25,000 of each employee's salary, as long as half the film
was made in California. The Canadian menace, at last, was going to
be faced down.
"Hollywood is under siege and we have to come to their rescue,"
Gray Davis, the Governor of California, bragged to a film-union
audience back in January, when he noisily unveiled the "Davis Plan"
for movie production subsidies. "We will enact this bill," he
assured The Hollywood Reporter as recently as July 12. "I will sign
it.... Our bill will become law."
That it did not shouldn't come as any kind of surprise. Whenever
U.S. politicians mix it up with the state's US$30-billion
motion-picture industry -- especially during an election campaign,
such as the high-profile contest Davis faces this fall -- the ratio
of rhetorical hot air hot air