You didn't think the arms races over state tax incentives was serious? Well, OK, I know you did. The production tax credits for Michigan (up to 42 percent refundable tax credit) and Georgia (up to 30 percent transferable) are bigger than Louisiana's current 25 percent transferable credit.
But did you see that California got into the game yesterday? Check out this Los Angeles Times story, and the excerpt below:
The credits -- capped at $500 million over five years -- are modest compared with those offered by other states.
Still, the announcement was welcome news to many in Hollywood who were skeptical that the Legislature would help the entertainment industry given the enormousness of the task of plugging the state's $42-billion budget gap.
"We applaud the passage of this incentive, which will help make California competitive and not only save jobs that are being lost but generate much-needed revenue for the state," said a joint statement from Hollywood's actors and directors unions and the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which have been lobbying for the credits for a decade."
However modest California's credits are (or aren't, if you happen to get 'em), it's simply important to note this: yesterday, for the first time, the world's capital of film production officially acknowledged that tax credits are a really, really big deal.
What's more interesting to me about the Calif. legislation is that it focuses on low budget films ($1M to $10M) and relocating TV shows to California (up to 25%). Will they succeed? Time will tell.
Dozens of states offer tax credits, and Texas and Alabama are ones I'm currently getting up to speed (yet again) for a piece running March 8. You can be certain that La. lawmakers, lobbyists and industry pros are studying their legislation, and the successes of Georgia and Michigan. The state Legislature convenes April 27.
From what I'm learning, many in Louisiana want to push the production tax credit to 30 percent to remain competitive. Will the Leg do it? I don't know yet. But I'll learn much more about it in the coming days. In the meantime, if you have questions you'd like to have answered from city or state officials, lemme know.