Part II: Actor’s call to governor’s office to spur tax bill signing is admirable but moot effort

Actor Jim Halas did something quite amazing.

On his own initiative, he picked up the phone and dialed 312/814-2121 — that’s the number for Gov. Blagojevich’s Chicago office — to urge him to stop waiting for a photo op with Johnny Depp and sign the five months overdue Filmmakers Tax Credit bill.

“A live person answered the telephone, and I specifically requested that the governor sign the bill by name,” Halas told the Reel.

“She willingly told me her name, but I suspect they have different people answering the phone. She said she would pass the comment on to him. It was professionally answered and no telephone run around.”

Halas continues: “The vote in the legislature showed that there was a lot of support on that level, so I figure we have to get the Governor’s attention with the calls. Like you, I hope the failure to sign is not misconstrued by prospective productions.”

Well, Jim, chances are that by now those “prospective productions” have gotten a ton of Email info from Michigan, Wisconsin, and even from the two latest states to get into the movie game: Mississippi (20% and 25% rebates) and Georgia (20% tax credit, just like Illinois).

TWO MONTHS have elapsed since the Illinois Senate passed the incentives bill and headed straight for the governor’s desk. All that was required to sign the bill into law, and reopen the doors to some badly need business, was for Blago to pick up a pen and affix his signature to that particular piece of paper.

Meantime, not a lot has been happening in the film office, among the unions, on the stages, at the equipment houses, and down the line.

But wait! All this moaning and groaning about a governor who publicly stated he wanted to be IN the movies, and courted Hollywood (embarrassingly, as he was so very late to an A-list brunch in his honor that guests walked out) as part of his strategy to run for president is moot.

The Reel learned that whether or not Blagojevich signs the bill, it automatically becomes law on June 13.

After all, after losing FIVE fullworth of movie business waiting for the 2008 incentives to kick in, what’s another week or two.