When Gov. Jim Doyle signed the Film Wisconsin bill this spring, Scott Robbe and other film professionals thought its tax incentives would finally make the state attractive to multimillion-dollar productions. Sadly, that hasn't happened. Robbe reports that while the wider film industry did respond at first to the tax breaks, amendments by state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and state Rep. Dean Kaufert moved the bill's start date to Jan. 1, 2008, effectively pushing several significantly budgeted projects to other states and countries.
"At present the Film Wisconsin bill SB563 is the best thing to happen to...Illinois?" writes Robbe in an exasperated e-mail. "I think the governor needs to call a special session and get this fixed. It is costing us tens of millions of dollars of lost business now. I think that is a major story. The Madison-based Poker Brat film [which follows the life of Madison-bred poker champ Phil Hellmuth] is written about a Madisonian and takes place here and will now be filmed in Vancouver. This state needs to get its act together. We pay both sides of the aisle to represent us and grow our economy."