Premier Partner

Q&A: Stacey Abrams talks Georgia’s film industry and education


EDITOR’S NOTE: The staff of the Rome News-Tribune sat down with the Democratic Party candidate for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams. She is running against the incumbent, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, in the November general election. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

QUESTION: Some parts of (Northwest Georgia) have earned some major screen time from movies and television, including a recent film in season four of “Stranger Things.” As a recent guest artist self on Star Trek Discovery, what does the “President of Earth” plan to do to further promote our area and our state as a major creative hub?

ABRAMS: So in 2019 when the abortion ban was put in place, a number of industry leaders called the governor and did not receive a return phone call. It was so egregious and urgent that I was asked to fly out to California, and I met with studio heads. I met CEOs for a number of not only the largest studios but deepest investors in the state of Georgia. They credit me with helping save the industry when a number of those projects would have pulled out because of the abortion ban. We know that more than 1,000 show runners, producers and directors have all said that they are looking at relocating their projects and they are deeply concerned about what’s happening in Georgia.

We also know that the current governor has signaled that he believes there should be no exceptions for rape or incest. And he has signaled his very strong support of the Texas bounty-style approach to abortion issues. This is an economic issue, not putting aside but in addition to the bodily autonomy and civil liberties that women should enjoy in this state. This is an economic issue because other states are going to continue to compete with Georgia.

California has offered a $1.65 billion tax credit to lure companies back and for those who say well, they won’t leave. We need to remember that’s how we got it. We took it from North Carolina and Michigan. Georgia had a tax credit in 2004, as did Michigan and North Carolina. But because of overreaches by their governors and by disinvestment, when Georgia decided to re-up the credit in 2008 — and I was part of the subcommittee and Ways and Means that helped draw revise our credit to make it more appealing — we were able to steal opportunity because folks forget, North Carolina was a hub for filming in the early 2000s. We were able to steal those jobs, those jobs will leave Georgia.

It may not be immediate, but it will happen over time. If we are seen as a hard right state with anti-civil liberties laws. And because of the governor’s refusal to say that he will support marriage equality, because of the fact that if Obergefell falls, as did Roe v. Wade, Georgia has an anti gay marriage constitutional amendment. The governor has said he believes that marriage is between man and woman and he refuses to commit to actually pushing for legislation that will support marriage equality. Georgia will lose jobs.

And so if we believe in this industry, it is insufficient to simply have a tax credit when no one wants to come to the state to do the work. And that’s going to be the real challenge. The more draconian our laws become the more tenuous our ownership with this tax credit becomes. See more here.


Comments are closed.