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Advocates don't want to mix tax dollars with movie smoking

Smoking

There are plenty of people arguing that the Hollywood tax credits approved by lawmakers last week won't help California's economy. But there's also another reason some people oppose the bill.

The American Lung Assn. in California says the bill shouldn't become law until it prevents the state from subsidizing movies that showcase smoking.

"We believe that continuing the practice of using state dollars to subsidize movies that depict harmful levels of smoking is contrary to California's body of law and policies aimed at reducing smoking and the negative health and economic impacts on the state," wrote Kimberly Weich Reusche, a vice president at the association, in a letter to lawmakers in May.

The letter said lawmakers should “align public film subsidies with public health evidence and goals.”

The association's argument didn't sink the bill in the Legislature, and it's unclear if it will have an impact on Gov. Jerry Brown, who will sign or veto the measure.

Evan Halper wrote about the Hollywood tax credits in Thursday's Los Angeles Times. Supporters say the credits will help prevent movie industry jobs from leaving California, but opponents say it's a poor use of tax money.

"The state is using money it then can't use for other things, like education, transportation and healthcare, which also create jobs and economic growth," said Nicholas Johnson, vice president for state fiscal activity at the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C.

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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: A woman smokes a cigarette in a park in 2009. Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

 
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