Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Touts Filming Incentives While Protecting LGBTQ and Women’s Rights, Calls Trump a ‘Bad Person’

Pritzker is in Los Angeles this week to promote his state’s filming advantages

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Donald Trump
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted his state’s film incentives during a trip to Los Angeles this week, along with the fact that, unlike Georgia, Illinois, “protects people’s freedoms” like LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive rights and in vitro fertilization.

Speaking with TheWrap on Tuesday at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, he also blasted 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as “a bad person.”

While the monetary incentives — 30% credit on qualified productions — are the biggest draw for film productions in his state, Pritzker explained that qualify-of-life issues matter as well, especially when a show films in Illinois for several years, such as with Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” franchise and FX hit “The Bear,” which was just renewed for a fourth season.

“We feel really good about being welcoming,” Pritzker told TheWrap. “And we’re welcoming in terms of our values and what we have put into place to protect people’s freedoms. The people on these productions tend to want to be in a place where we’re protecting LGBTQ rights, women’s reproductive rights and IVF.”

He contrasted Illinois’ “welcoming” stance with Georgia, where abortion is outlawed six weeks into a pregnancy. “Even though it may not feel like [these issues] affect you if you’re visiting, it obviously is important to a lot of the people who are involved in productions.”

“Being competitive on the incentive front is important,” he added. “Being a world-class city that people want to be in for months on end, and maybe for years, is important. But it also is important that we don’t keep people from expressing their rights.”

The governor also pointed to a January study that found that Illinois’ tax incentives earn $7 back for every dollar spent, as opposed to Georgia, where a Georgia State University study predicted the state would only get back 19 cents for every dollar spent in the coming year.

Peter Hawley, director of the Illinois Film Office, told TheWrap that business is booming: “Right now, we’ve got nine TV shows in town. And we have a good pipeline of productions coming in.” Hawley said that 93.5% of Illinois productions cited the tax incentives as the reason they chose to film in the state.

Pritzker also weighed in on whether former President Trump’s many legal issues will impact his campaign ahead of November’s election, especially as the Stormy Daniels hush money trial is now set to begin in New York City on April 15.

“I think it matters to people,” the governor said. “I get that people want to look at the polls today and say, ‘Well, it doesn’t seem to matter that he’s been indicted.’ But, every day that goes by where he’s struggling, it turns out he’s not as wealthy as he said he was, so he’s lying to people [who might start to wonder], did he, in fact, commit sexual assault against somebody?”

Pritzker continued: “I think over the next months, as there are trials and the facts that come out, and there’s more coverage of it, I do think that you’re going to see a big shift. This is a bad guy, Donald Trump, he’s just a bad person.”

While Pritzker acknowledged that some voters only care about whether their taxes will be cut, “I also think people care about whether you’re taking away their reproductive freedom, or whether you’re attacking their family, and whether their values are your values. So I think that’ll all come through over the next seven months.”


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