Tucson wants to recreate the old movie magic - Tucson News Now

Tucson wants to recreate the old movie magic

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It wasn't very long ago that catching a glimpse of a Hollywood star walking down a Tucson street was commonplace.

Tucson seemed to be a second home for Hollywood.

But those days disappeared after a series of tax incentives were dropped and the state has so far refused to reinstate them. 

At one time, the movie industry added 9,000 jobs and pumped $355 million into the states coffers in salaries alone.

Tucson, Visit Tucson and Pima County see some advantage to brining back those golden days.

All have asked the state lawmakers to pass a package of state wide incentives to boost the industry.

But to no avail so far.

"We had good success in the legislature until we get to the top," says Brent DeRaad, President and CEO of Visit Tucson. "We get to the finish line to have the legislature to sign off and the governor, and we haven't been able to advance that in the past two years."

Area leaders are not likely to try again as long as Governor Jan Brewer is in office.

No package will be advanced until 2015 when the governor is out of office.

In the meantime, the city of Tucson has decided to pass their own incentives rather that wait on the state.

Tucson unanimously passed a measure while will allow film production companies a 75% break on city property.

That would likely be the TCC which may be converted to a sound stage which Tucson lacks.

But Tucson has more to offer.

"If you come to Tucson, you can shoot an urban scene, you can get out in the desert in 10 minutes and shoot a desert scene," says Tucson city council member Steve Kozachik who is leading the effort. "In 30 minutes you can be on top of Mount Lemmon and you can shoot a scene in the snow."

He says the state is being short sighted and Tucson can benefit from that.

"You don't need to move your crew all over the state," he says. "You can get it all right here."

He called the city vote a "small set."

Visit Tucson already has an incentive plan in place where it rebates part of the production companies expenses.

It's been instrumental in bringing $10 million in work to Tucson in the past year.

But there's much more on the table he feels.

"We'd like the state to bring back a statewide film center to put us on an equal footing with New Mexico, Utah and Colorado," he says.

Those states are "bringing in tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars from the film and television industry,  " he says.

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