Film Industry Tax Credits under Scrutiny in Louisiana
Tax credits that created incentive for filmmakers in the entertainment industry are coming under scrutiny and in danger of being cut once more in Louisiana.
The debate about whether or not to keep the tax credits came on Monday. Some state lawmakers along with those from the industry presented their arguments for the tax credits. Other lawmakers are skeptical that the credits are not really worth it.
Advocates of the tax credits are looking to keep them in place for the next 18 months.
The Entertainment Industry Development Advisory Committee had its first meeting on Monday to look at ways of improving the tax incentive program while reviewing it.
This committee was set up by State Senator J.P. Morrell, (D) New Orleans who is concerned that the when the state reviews the credits in 2015 that they could be stopped unless there are suggestions for improvements.
The tax credits currently apply to businesses in the entertainment industry such as those involved with live performances, film, sound, and digital media.
This scrutinizing of the entertainment tax has happened before. In 2012, the state began trimming its budget and the entertainment tax program caught lawmakers’ eyes when it was reported that it cost $170 million in lost revenues from taxation.
Robert Scott, who belongs to Public Affairs Research Advisory Council of Louisiana, confirms that on one hand the tax credits bring jobs into the state but on the other hand they are very expensive.
Scott Niemeyer is a film producer who left Los Angeles and came to New Orleans because of the tax credits. He addressed the committee and reiterated that the state has been very effective at attracting others in this industry.
Currently, all states except for 10 offer entertainment tax credits. The State of Georgia offers some of the most attractive credits however Louisiana’s are very competitive because of it infrastructure to support the entertainment industry.
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