Arizona State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) slammed House Bill (HB) 2156 which aims to entice filmmakers to come to Arizona by offering upwards of $125 million in tax credits, calling it anti-Republican.
“This might be the most outrageous, anti-Republican bill of the entire session. We’ve heard the whole Woke narrative, but it’s exactly right. Hollywood is off the rails right now. They are sexualizing our children. They are degrading our culture. They are glorifying violence. Hollywood does not represent the people of Arizona. It is not the industry the people of Arizona want,” Hoffman said during a recent House Floor Session.
Furthermore, a potential issue in HB 2156 that Hoffman pointed out is that companies get to keep the money they receive, even if they later boycott or cause financial harm to Arizona. The bill, which was sponsored by State Representative Regina Cobb (R-Kingman), also does not stop the tax credits from being used to support political activities or fund campaigns.
“Just yesterday, Democrats railed against money going to private-jet millionaires, but yet here, this bill allows multimillionaire, centimillionaire actors, talent, producers, writers to all receive refunding from our taxpayers,” Hoffman said. “Under this bill, if Hillary Clinton were to come here in 2024 and film a political commercial, she could qualify for a refundable tax credit. Tell me that makes sense, please.”
While rounding out his argument, Hoffman acknowledged the bill bars filmmakers from receiving credit when making sexually obscene content such as pornography; however, he said this is not enough. Filmmakers could create content that promotes violence, is anti-American or Israeli, harmful to minors, and is discriminatory while still receiving the tax credit.
During its final reading on the House floor, HB 2156 sparked an over 30-minute-long bipartisan back-and-forth between supporters and opposers.
State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) spoke against the bill, saying it breaks the Arizona Constitution’s Gift Clause.
“The Gift Clause’s purpose is to prevent governmental bodies from depleting the public treasury by giving advantages to special interests or by engaging in nonpublic enterprises. This bill would create tax incentives for film and production studios. This bill is definitely unconstitutional and will get tied up in the courts,” Bolick said.
On the other hand, State Representative Teresa Martinez (R-Maricopa) rose to say she supported the jobs this bill could create.
“I don’t like woke Hollywood. I don’t like their ideals. I don’t like their ideologies. I don’t like woke Hollywood. But what I do like, I like jobs. I like people coming to Arizona and spending money in Arizona,” Martinez said.
Other Republicans joined Martinez in support of HB 2156, including State Representative John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), who said he hopes the bill will help Arizona become more competitive.
“It’s a matter of being an entrepreneur and a businessman and having the opportunity to compete,” Fillmore said. “I know that when we talk about the tax credits, the fact of the matter is that under this bill, and I ask about that, the people coming in have to spend the money first before they get the money to recoup some of that as an investment. So, it is a win for the state of Arizona. It’s a win for our neighbors. It’s a win for the workers.”
Once arguments ended, HB 2156 ultimately passed with a vote of 39 ayes, 18 nays, and three not voting. The bill was transferred to Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) desk and awaits his decision.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona State Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.