A bill threatening to reduce Louisiana's film tax credit is a concern for those currently benefiting from the industry. Louisiana is one of more than 40 states offering film credits to the movie industry and those credits attract thousands of jobs and millions of dollars state-wide. But this year, lawmakers have proposed filling budget holes by scaling back film tax credits.
Film lobbyists say some of those bills are threatening to shut down the film industry in Louisiana. One of those bills, died in committee on Monday, but with three weeks left in the session, it's not over yet.
Some of the production companies say they will not come to Shreveport-Bossier or Louisiana in general if these film credits change too drastically. City leaders say that would severely hurt the local economy. "It's an industry that I say is mobile, they rolled in here they can roll back out," said Bossier Film Commissioner Pam Glorioso.
A billion dollars worth of productions have been shot in Shreveport-Bossier since 2005. That's why Glorioso says the film industry is crucial to the area. "The industry is very important for the jobs its created and the service industry that's supported by it," she said and adds the 30% tax credit program started in 2002, is the reason why the industry has boomed in the sister cities. But now several bills proposed in the legislature are threatening to reduce those tax credits.
"It's great to say that we have all these great movies coming to the state of Louisiana but you can't say that and then turn around and close the hospitals and fund higher education," said East Baton Rouge Representative Ted James, who proposed House Bill 161. It would reduce the tax credit and take out provisions ensuring the credits only benefit Louisiana residents.
That bill died in committee Monday. "I'm somewhat relieved but never [fully] relieved until it's all said and done," said Glorioso and adds she isn't celebrating yet, because there are several more bills pending that would affect the industry. "Those bills are critical to the industry possibly staying here or going away".
Diego Martinez of Shreveport based Millennium Studios has been working with lawmakers to make several changes to the bills, to work in the industries favor. For now, he says he is satisfied with the changes, but says between now and the end of the session, anything can happen.
House Bill 444 is the next bill to be looked over on Wednesday. It calls for a review of the film tax credit program.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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