Sunday, February 17, 2013

Arizona film tax incentives being considered

Film Tax Credits.  Film Incentives. Film Rebates.  No matter what they are called, they are part of a state's realistic set of tools to attract filming.  Here's Arizona's new approach:
Arizona lawmakers looking to woo Hollywood are flirting with resurrecting a tax incentives program aimed at competing with New Mexico and other states that have long thrown free cash at production companies that film there.

The bill seeking to grant millions of dollars in tax breaks through 2043 would require production companies to hire some Arizona residents. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy and Military unanimously approved the bill Wednesday after local film and tourism leaders framed it as a jobs bill and argued Arizona would suffer economically if it didn’t do more to lure Hollywood to the state.

“This will grease the skids for Hollywood to come over here,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a Republican from Tucson and the bill’s sponsor, after the vote.
The bill, which has been introduced for the fourth time in four years, includes a 20 percent tax credit for multimedia productions that spend at least $250,000 in Arizona. Businesses could seek tax credits worth up to $15 million as long as they say the production was filmed in Arizona in the end credits, among other requirements.

The Arizona Commerce Authority would be tasked with weeding out abuses and ensuring the businesses are holding up their end of the deal. No more than $70 million in income tax credits each year could be preapproved under the proposed program.

FLIPSFilm's opinion:  Film tax incentives work.  They clearly "move the needle" to choosing between several locations and are an important part of the economic planning of productions.  It's an important reason for the continuing film flight from traditional filming sites.  States - and even communities within states - should look for all ways to attract valuable filming to cash starved economies.

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