Thursday, June 12, 2008

Locals push to renew infrastructure tax credit; Kilmer dishes on 'The Doors'

Times reporter Adam Kealoha Causey followed the mayor and film industry leaders down to Baton Rouge yesterday. They pressed their case that the infrastructure tax credit must be renewed before it lapses at the end of the year.

With Nu Image/Millennium Films pushing ahead to build a $10 million studio and hoping to build a second phase thereafter, the company wants to make certain that the tax credit is in place during all phases of construction.

(Understand that the production and labor tax credits will not change at the end of the year. It's only the infrastructure credit that's in jeopardy.)

There's an assumption that the legislature will revisit the credits during the next fiscal session -- beginning spring 2009 -- but the industry in northwest Louisiana wants to see a more proactive response. If they don't address the infrastructure credit this year, there essentially would be a six-month gap before the credit could be renewed.

Basically, local leaders don't want to see any gap whatsoever. They want to see the legislature call a special session before the year is out and solidify and/or strengthen the infrastructure tax credit, and look again at all the credits, before other states pass more agressive incentives. (Michigan, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Connecticut you name it: Lots of states are working to up the ante and get their share of the Hollywood pie.)

It's also important to note that Nu Image/Millennium Films is not the only company interesting in the infrastructure tax credit, which specifically applies to the cost of building and rennovating production facilities.

Lampton Enochs, a founding partner of Louisiana Production Consultants, co-manages the busy Mansfield Studios in south Shreveport. The facility has attracted 17 projects in 16 months. Enochs said there are long-term plans to soundproof its soundstages and add production office space, but a sunsetting tax credit – or even just a six-month lapse – would change them.

"If you shut down (the tax credit), you can’t make plans," Enochs said.

The same would go for the operators of StageWorks of Louisiana, Stage West and the Louisiana Wave Studio, local studio/production facilities that can take advantage of the infrastructure credit when they do renovations.

How important is the infrastructure credit to sustaining the local film industy? Is it as important as the production and labor credits, which will remain in place? I'd like to read your thoughts.

P.S.: We also provided a recap of what Val Kilmer said Sunday about "The Doors." Enjoy.


Kathryn Usher said...

What's troubling are the comments our leaders in south Louisiana keep saying. That to renew this tax credit is a knee jerk reaction. I can't help but think if the movies were flocking to down south there would be no hesitation in getting this renewed.

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