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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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WaLeg Say 65: Zombies push for tax break

OLYMPIA -- Heather Hatton, an actress in a commercial supporting the state's tax incentive for films shot in Washington, prepares for a take on the Capitol steps as students on a tour stream past. (Jim Camden)
OLYMPIA -- Heather Hatton, an actress in a commercial supporting the state's tax incentive for films shot in Washington, prepares for a take on the Capitol steps as students on a tour stream past. (Jim Camden)

OLYMPIA -- Note to grade school students planning a civics trip to the state Capitol during the session: You never know who you'll see here. The governor. Legislators. Lobbyists.

Zombies...

Supporters of a state tax break for companies that film in Washington brought actors dressed as the undead from "Z-Nation" to Olympia today, where they filmed a commercial on the Capitol campus, mugged for legislators and curious onlookers, and waved at children when the standard tour of the Legislative Building and Temple of Justice took youngsters past a makeshift set.

Generally speaking, the children weren't frightened in the least by the gobs of ersatz blood, fake open wounds and death pallor makeup the actors sported. Most just waved and smiled.

Reaction from state officials was somewhat mixed to the bill the zombies are backing, SB 6027 which would phase in an increase for the film incentive program. 

Gov. Jay Inslee, at a morning press conference, said he thought the current tax break helps the film industry in Washington "to some degree" and mentioned he visited a set for Z-Nation last summer during a visit to Spokane. But it's difficult to think of many expansions in the current tax breaks with all the demands on the 2015-17 operating budget, he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said the current tax break for film companies has some tangible benefits. But so do tax incentives for agriculture, server farms, high tech research and technology, and aluminum, he added.

"We're going to consider all of them," Schoelser said. 

Zombie sightings are not as common in Olympia as Spokane, but Tuesday was not the first time people dressed in their best undead duds and makeup made an appearance in and around the building. In 2011, a group protesting budget cuts dressed as zombies and danced to a rewritten version of "The Monster Mash" on the Capitol Steps.



Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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