Shreveport is topping the list of areas for movie production across the country, but a tax credit for producers to bring their work to the Port City is facing some scrutiny.
Louisiana was the first state to offer a state film tax credit and the Shreveport-Bossier area can thank the movie business for a billion dollar boom since 2005. The tax credits are why these productions are coming to the Sportsman's Paradise, whether their destinations are New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport or Bossier City.
It's that incentive that can make or break a producer's decision to come to Louisiana, said Pam Glorioso, project coordinator/film liaison for the Shreveport-Bossier area.
The tax credit is something the local economy wants to keep around. But in the past year, there have been more cases of film tax credit fraud than ever.
"Quite a bit of business as of late has focused on film tax credit fraud and you can see that over the past year," said Louisiana Inspector General Steven Street, adding that the state has been defrauded out of millions of dollars in the past year.
"What we have found in several cases is that folks have submitted false information to the state in order to defraud the state out of those tax credit monies."
Lawmakers are looking for ways to crack down on the fraud. Street said he thinks an audit at the beginning of the credit process should be stronger to make it harder for fraud to happen.
In the mean time, they plan to find a way to keep the incentive around and keep those in the state's film industry happy and making money.
"You don't shoot the whole project down because of one problem," Glorioso said. "You solve it."
Street said that could mean tweaking the program to make it harder, or to make it easier to catch fraudsters and hold them accountable. Talks are in the beginning stages.
The Louisiana economy gains about $5 for every $1 of credit.
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