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It’s been u-g-l-y on the set of Ugly Betty since the suits announced on Tuesday that the show is moving its production to New York City.

And, according to reports, the 300 production people who are losing their jobs because of the move blame California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

New York passed a host of new new tax credits to lure more showbiz productions — Ugly Betty took the bait and is headed their way.

Many argue that the Governator has not done much to save and/or grow California’s showbiz production business.

Unfortunately, there are small business owners like dry cleaners, caterers, construction supply folk who will be financially crippled by Ugly Betty’s move to NYC. These vendors have banded together to buy a one page ad in Variety, the entertainment industry’s trade paper, on behalf of the soon-to-be unemployed folks as a show of support and to help call attention to changes that need to be made at the state level for their own sake.

Here’s what the ad appearing in Variety will say:

To Whom it Should Concern
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Members of the State Senate and State Assembly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles City Council, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors:

We are writing to you because we just lost our jobs. We are the 300 plus members of the crew of the television show Ugly Betty. We were informed this Tuesday that the production of our show is moving to New York primarily because of the 35% tax incentives being offered by the state of New York. Instead of making good wages and paying our fair share of California state income tax, we will all be collecting Unemployment Benefits. In addition, we will certainly be cutting our spending back to the bone, which will not only cut back our sales tax contributions substantially, but it could end up costing the jobs of the people who provide services and products to us. Not only are these crew positions being lost; all of our local vendors are losing our business.

Our production buys: lumber, paint, wallpaper, cabinets, other building materials, office products, fabric, art supplies, computer equipment, food, beverages, flowers, film, makeup & hair products, wigs, insurance, jewelry, clothing, etc.

Our production rents: lighting equipment, sound equipment, video playback equipment, heavy machinery, office equipment, backdrops, costumes, furniture, scenery, props, soundstages, offices, parking facilities, cars, trucks, storage facilities, computers, camera equipment, grip equipment, editing equipment, drafting equipment, cell phones, computers, toilets, dumpsters, live plants, production trailers, tools, hardware, artwork, walkie talkies, etc.

Our production also uses the services of: dry cleaners, printers, location companies, Special Effects companies, utilities, caterers, payroll services, restaurants, security, Post Production Services, Clearance Houses, etc.

When we shoot on locations around Los Angeles we pay for permits; we pay homeowners & businesses for the use of their property, we hire police and fire department personnel, we pay for facility engineers, etc.

So, while the loss of our individual positions may be insignificant, the loss of this production is staggering. Now multiply this by all the other productions going to New York, New Mexico, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina and other states with incentives, not to mention Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Eastern Europe, etc. and the cost to the California state economy is monumental. We implore you to do everything in your power to level the playing field and bring our jobs back to California by enacting meaningful incentives to keep film and television production in our state.

Sincerely yours
The Crew of Ugly Betty


We’re sure Arnie will hear you loud and clear now!

[Image via WENN.]

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May 08, 2008 12:30pm PDT

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