Letters: Film tax credit brings jobs and money to Illinois

SHARE Letters: Film tax credit brings jobs and money to Illinois
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The last step before going inside, filling out an application. At St. Sabina Church, for a casting call for the new Spike Lee film possibly named “Chiraq,” May 9, 2015 (Brian Jackson/For the Sun Times)

As independent filmmakers living and working in Illinois, we can’t help but scratch our heads at the Sun-Times “watchdogs” going after the Illinois Film Tax Credit. The number of articles written on the subject combined with their placement as front page news makes it seem as though the Sun-Times has become the mouthpiece for the governor’s agenda. And to what end? What will it serve to take down a growth industry in Illinois that has spurred billions in spending and supports thousands of jobs?

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

This article is not responsible reporting and is damaging to a growing industry. Finally, after years of decline, the film community is seeing substantial growth. If the tax credits are frozen for an indeterminate amount of time or are abolished, it will adversely affect the local film community. The big budget films and television shows will just move on to another state with better tax credits and take with them the money and the jobs they are currently supplying to our state.

What about the local independent filmmakers who count on these credits to get their projects made? Without the tax credits, the independent film community will be decimated. When raising funds for films under $1 million, we count on those credits to ensure that our films are financed. It is the independent filmmakers who will be most affected if the tax credits are abolished. We will no longer be able to make films in our home state.

Amelia Estelle Dellos and Eric Anderson,

Corn Bred Films

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In its first installment, this new Sun-Times series bemoans the $200 million in tax concessions given to moviemakers who filmed here, even as it reports it generated over “$2.8 billion on Illinois goods, services and wages for actors and other workers” the past seven years. (The Lead, p. 4, June 14.)

Wait! Weren’t those our Great Recession years while otherwise our economy tanked? It was like finding loose cash on the sidewalk.

The concession works out to giving back around 10 cents for every dollar those outsiders spent here. Supermarkets run specials more generous. Isn’t that one aspect of what Gov. Bruce Rauner calls making Illinois “business friendly?”

Against competing locales offering similar subsidies, how else to stay in the game? We struggle otherwise to keep businesses here, yet we now should chase away the film industry? Where’s the logic?

The influence of Chicago’s paid advertising to lure tourists here is almost insignificant compared with the free publicity our photogenic city gets every time a movie shot here is seen by millions worldwide. So far, this new series has ignored this. It alone makes up for the tax breaks, as any publicity agent would affirm.

This phony scandal seems triggered by the public pique of certain misguided aldermen who have threatened to deny Spike Lee a film tax credit because they dislike the working name, “Chiraq,” about street violence here that is common knowledge. Preemptive censorship vs. First Amendment rights of free speech? To them I would quote Jack Nicholson’s line from the movie, “A Few Good Men”: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

King was right

If Bruce/Caitlin Jenner, who will always have the y chromosome, thus making him a man, can call himself a woman, why shouldn’t Rachel Dolezal, who will always be genetically Caucasian, be able to call herself African American?

We should be for more concerned over the fact that one’s race can be a factor in getting into a university, getting a scholarship, job, or contract. Martin Luther King was right when he protested against job applications that required the applicant to disclose his race, saying that one’s race should have nothing to do with getting hired.

Larry E. Nazimek, Logan Square

Help Illinois fight silent epidemic

Gov. Bruce Rauner has an opportunity to help Illinois address a silent epidemic that is gripping our state. The Hepatitis C Virus is a common blood-borne affliction that affects more than 200,000 Illinoisans across all socioeconomic groups.

Hepatitis C silently attacks the liver for decades without causing any symptoms. Unfortunately, most physicians are not following the medical guidelines to screen for the virus. We know this because up to 75 percent of infected individuals don’t know their status. Without proper treatment, hepatitis C can progress to irreversible cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer — a condition that is universally fatal without transplantation.

Fortunately, legislation on its way to the governor’s desk would help ensure that Illinois baby boomers — the population most likely to be infected — are offered testing for the disease. Yet instead of recognizing this as a critical opportunity to save lives, some of my colleagues are arguing that doctors don’t like mandates. SB 661 requires that patients be offered a screening so they can make informed decisions about their health. This legislation does not mandate that a test be done, nor are there penalties if the test is not offered. However, the increased awareness of the issue that this bill offers for health care providers should be welcome.

Testing for hepatitis C is even more significant now that most patients with the disease can be cured. New oral hepatitis C medications have come to market with virtually no side effects and cure rates of nearly 100 percent. We need SB 661 to become law so that we can sound the alarm on this deadly epidemic and save lives.

Steven L. Flamm, MD, professor of medicine and surgery, Division of Hepatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Medical Director of Liver Transplantation

We need good fathers

Father’s Day gives everyone a chance to honor and celebrate effective caring fathers. Whether one is a father or not is irrelevant. The fact that we are here is because someone fathered us, biologically or in some other way. We can each celebrate our father.

Boy, if ever our beleaguered, challenged contemporary world needed outstanding, on-duty, fathers and other leaders of conscience, it is now. Lamentably, everywhere we look we see far too many examples of absent, failed, and even dysfunctional leaders.

As the intact family (one with two effective on-duty parents in the home), as we have known it, continues its decline, we need excellent fathers to help us to learn about and maintain the civility we need and have been losing.

We need able fathers who do not hit, bully, abuse (in any way), cheat, or control others, but who know how to command with character, conscience, and commitment. They will be men who can set, respect, and abide by clear boundaries (personal, political, professional, occupational, and otherwise). Doing so will ensure nourishing, fulfilling relationships.

Successful fathers teach those in their charge by using words. If they cannot do so, they will have failed. Fathers only hit when their words have failed.

We are in desperate need of honest men who can reclaim the vital role that they have abandoned.

I maintain realistic hope that we will see an increase in exemplary fathers. Attaining that vision is paramount.

Happy Father’s Day to us all.

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @CSTEditorials


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