As the Nevada legislature debates tax credits for the film industry, actor Mark Wahlberg said Las Vegas can become the new Hollywood.
“I would love to see us building studios, creating jobs and just diversifying the economy. I’ve moved my last film here. I’m shooting another film here coming up in the summertime,” Wahlberg, who last year ditched California for Nevada, said, according to CNBC.
“I think there’s so much more opportunity to be created here. There’s so much growth and so much potential, it’s a wonderful opportunity for everybody to prosper,” Wahlberg said.
Wahlberg was among entertainment industry leaders urging Nevada lawmakers to increase tax credits for film production from $10 million per year to $190 million per year over the next 20 years.
As noted by Fox Business, Wahlberg has said Las Vegas can be “Hollywood 2.0.”
"We're looking to create 10,000 jobs on the studio alone," he said.
"The average salary would be $100,000 more than what it is now. We want to train people both in front of and behind the camera, create jobs, most importantly, first and foremost, for locals,” he said.
Wahlberg praised the efforts of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo to enhance Nevada’s economic base.
"There's lots of opportunity for growth here, and the government, especially our new governor, is really looking for opportunities to create jobs outside of gaming,” he said.
Wahlberg said his business future in Nevada could also include a shoe factory and one that makes apparel.
The California expatriate said of his new state, “I just wish I’d made the move sooner,” according to KLAS-TV.
“We want to create as much opportunity for as many people as possible. We want to uncover new and exciting talent. There are so many amazing storytellers out there and so many amazing stories to be told,” he said.
KLAS noted that the bill for tax credits drew some opposition.
“We offer these abatements and credits at the expense of our communities,” Battle Born Progress leader Annette Magnus said.
“If you want to bring your business here, then please do. Please do it on your own and at your own expense and stop using our communities to fund it,” she said.
Wahlberg has often gone his own way in Hollywood, particularly in terms of religion.
Earlier this year, in an interview that was posted by the “Today” YouTube channel, he said, “[My faith] it’s everything, it really has, it’s afforded me so many things. ... God didn’t come here to save the saints, He came to save the sinners.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.