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Eye On Boise

Tue., Feb. 10, 2009, 7:41 a.m.

‘It’s almost impossible’

Last year, Idaho passed an incentive program to attract film production to the state, but didn't fund it. This morning, Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, asked state Commerce Director Don Dietrich whether that ended up helping us or hurting us as far as attracting such businesses. "As you know, we did not fund that particular bill," Dietrich told Eskridge and other members of JFAC, who are hearing the Commerce budget this morning. "So unfortunately, it did generate a lot of interest initially. ... We did receive numerous phone calls and emails. ... Yes, they came when you passed the bill, and we were unable to actually generally any dollars to that. ... In my own mind, yes, we did lose an opportunity. We have had production companies call on a fairly regular basis, and that activity has backed up somewhat."

Other states, including Utah, Michigan, Massachusetts, Florida and Louisiana, are courting film productions with big incentives, Dietrich said. "They are pouring millions of dollars into their film programs, so it is very difficult to compete ... in fact, it's almost impossible to pull a production company into the state without something on the table."

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.