At­tract­ing films to Ari­zona too tax­ing for law­mak­ers

The Arizona Republic - - Az Politics - Com­piled by Repub­lic re­porters Jerod Mac­Don­ald-Evoy, Mary Jo Pitzl and Alia Beard Rau. Get the lat­est at pol­i­

Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion ... Why is New Mex­ico called the “Land of En­chant­ment”? Maybe be­cause its movi­etax credit pro­gram is so en­tic­ing to pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies.

A re­cent movie that fell un­der its spell: “Only the Brave,” the film about the Gran­ite Moun­tain Hotshots and the deadly fire they fought … in Ari­zona. But it was filmed across the bor­der.

Gov. Doug Ducey said it’s re­gret­table it wasn’t shot in the state where the tragic event hap­pened.

“I wish they would have filmed it here,” the gov­er­nor said, af­ter tout­ing the movie dur­ing a re­cent speech. “Of course, we al­ways want to bring in­dus­try here.”

So why didn’t that hap­pen?

“A lot of times it has to do with tim­ing, weather, cli­mate,” the gov­er­nor said.

And, maybe, tax cred­its?

The pro­duc­tion, like so many other movies, documentaries and shorts, ben­e­fited from the re­fund­able tax credit New Mex­ico of­fers to com­pa­nies that film in the state. And New Mex­i­cans got some jobs out of it, too: the New Mex­ico Film Com­mis­sion re­ported the pro­duc­tion em­ployed 190 New Mex­ico crew mem­bers, 40 New Mex­ico ac­tors, and ap­prox­i­mately 1,300 New Mex­ico back­ground tal­ent.

Ducey, for his part, is not a fan of the spe­cialty tax break.

“I am in fa­vor of low­er­ing our taxes ev­ery year and hav­ing a more at­trac­tive busi­ness cli­mate,” he said. “I haven’t been some­one who has looked to those tar­geted-in­dus­try type in­cen­tives.”

Ari­zona’s Leg­is­la­ture has re­jected re­peated ef­forts to re­vive a short-lived film tax-credit pro­gram.

Mean­while, New Mex­ico is stand­ing in as the lo­cale for lots of South­west­ern-based plots. Movies ti­tled “Mid­night, Texas’ and “Waco” have an­nounced plans to film there. And a movie called — wait for it — “Ari­zona.”

Would that re­ally be bet­ter? ... An un­ap­peal­ing smell and taste in Tempe’s drink­ing wa­ter this fall has led some res­i­dents to pro­pose a sea­sonal so­lu­tion: add pump­kin spice.

A pe­ti­tion cre­ated on ipe­ti­ is call­ing for the city to fla­vor the wa­ter, and some res­i­dents are sign­ing on. For Pump­kin spice haters and oth­ers who do this, don’t stress: This ap­pears to be a joke.

“Whereas, the tap wa­ter tastes aw­ful, and, whereas, it’s that time of year any­how,

We hereby ask the City of Tempe to put pump­kin spice in the tap wa­ter,” the pe­ti­tion reads.

One anony­mous user on the pe­ti­tion page seemed to shrug at the idea: “This wa­ter is the worst ever at least make it pump­kin, I guess,” the per­son wrote.

The pe­ti­tion was posted on a Tempe neigh­bor­hood Face­book group and gar­nered many pos­i­tive re­sponses.

“FI­NALLY! Pos­i­tive so­lu­tions in­stead of com­plain­ing on the in­ter­net,” wrote Sarah Rainer.

The “musty” smell em­a­nat­ing from the wa­ter ac­tu­ally comes from or­ganic com­pounds called 2-Methylisobor­neol and Geosmin, ac­cord­ing to Tempe wa­ter qual­ity man­ager Dave Mc­Neil.

The scary-sound­ing sci­en­tific terms are not dan­ger­ous to hu­man health, ac­cord­ing to Mc­Neil. They’re or­ganic com­pounds that tend to ap­pear this time of the year — much like pump­kin spice.

The city re­sponded to the pe­ti­tion with the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“The City of Tempe takes great pride in pro­duc­ing clean, safe drink­ing wa­ter that is en­joy­able year-round. Let’s save the pump­kin spice for lat­tes.”

The pe­ti­tion has gar­nered a stag­ger­ing 7 sig­na­tures since it launched in Septem­ber so Tempe pump­kin spice fans shouldn’t hold their breath (un­less they’re tak­ing a drink of the tap wa­ter).

Quote of the week

“I have de­cided that I will be bet­ter able to rep­re­sent the peo­ple of Ari­zona and to bet­ter serve my coun­try and my con­science by free­ing my­self from the po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions that con­sume far too much band­width and would cause me to com­pro­mise far too many prin­ci­ples.”

— Jeff Flake, U.S. se­na­tor, an­nounc­ing he will not seek a sec­ond term in the United States Se­nate.

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