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February 21, 2019

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Las Vegans from film and TV industry protest Tesla deal at Capitol

Tesla film tax credit protest

Kyle Roerink

Las Vegans protest Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposal to reduce the state’s film and TV tax credit program from $80 million to $10 million as part of the Tesla tax deal. The protest took place in front of the state Capitol in Carson City on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.

A group of 30 Las Vegans who work in film and TV traveled to Carson City to protest Nevada's proposed $1.3 billion tax deal with Tesla Motors.

The entertainment industry is one casualty of Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed deal with Tesla. The state would remove $70 million worth of film and TV tax credits approved by the Legislature last year.

The state has dished out $5 million worth of tax breaks to the movie “Mall Cop 2” and other projects. Those who work in the industry say its just the tip of the iceberg. If the tax credits go, they say, projects and jobs will die. Two projects that film and TV advocates worry would die if the tax credits go away: A pilot from CBS, an untitled film starring Dakota Fanning and a new online series about a fictional Las Vegas basketball team produced by Yahoo, said Joshua Cohen, a Las Vegas based producer.

Related: Complete Tesla coverage

“When Hollywood gets wind that there’s a program being diminished or disappearing, they are likely to not plan on long term investments here,” Cohen said.

Before the session began, the film and TV supporters protested in front of the Capitol holding signs reading “Keep Nevada Film Alive and “Promises are Promises.” The string of 30 protesters drew horn honks and thumbs up from drivers and passengers riding on Carson Street. Many of the protesters were union members who work with the IATSE Local 720. Hoping to bolster their case, protestors had a letter for Sandoval that explained the significance of the film tax credit on jobs in the industry. The group also has a registered lobbyist.

Any film or TV production spending more than $500,000 is entitled to a 15 percent credit. Those who work in the industry say the credit has been good for business and boosted the number of jobs in the industry.

Union member Joe Sacco supports the Tesla deal. “But not at the cost of jobs,” he said.

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