Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings Slams “Second-Rate” States That Compete With Texas for Film Business

Dallas Film Commission director Janis Burklund probably wouldn’t have used the exact wordsIMG_0324 Mike and Micki Rawlings that Mayor Mike Rawlings did last night, when he talked about states that compete with Texas for film projects. But she liked his point about staying competitive in the battle for movie business.

Addressing the opening-night crowd at the Dallas International Film Festival, the Dallas mayor (pictured with his wife Micki) drew a rousing ovation when he said, “I’m a businessman by heart, and we can make money in film in Texas.” A little later he added: “We must lobby to make sure we’re competitive with second-rate states around us.”

Take that, New Mexico and Louisiana!

Rawlings’s lobbying comment referred to Texas’s Moving Picture Incentive Program, a pot of grant money that cash-strapped legislators reduced last session from $60 million to $30 million. Burklund says it simply isn’t enough, because other states are offering filmmakers more dough.

“It’s still a problem for us. Texas needs to step up a bit to get more big projects in,” Burklund said today at the DIFF Chairman’s Luncheon at the Hotel Palomar. “We’re at 15 percent [per total spent per project] at most, and that’s a problem. I’d like some additional money put into our fund, because it’s starting to run out.”

How much more? “We’d like to get $60 million, because some states don’t have any caps on the incentives they provide,” she said.

Noting the dearth of major new film projects in the Lone Star State, Burklund added: “We were counting on another TV series or two this year, but it didn’t happen. We’re still holding on, but it could be a whole lot better.”


  • Wick Allison

    Notice that the word “competitive” now means spending more of the taxpayers’ money (but only for favored industries, of course.)

  • Brent D.

    Perhaps he means Texas needs to spend more to be a second-rate state?

  • mynameisbill

    I think he’s relating to how Dominoes was second rate to Pizza Hut.

  • Glenn Hunter

    Wick, one of the legislative options the industry may be looking at is a cooperative effort by many states to get rid of these incentives. But unless and until that happens, they wonder–and it’s a good point–why would Texas unilaterally disarm?