Yes, it’s true that our country is going through it's fair share of economic troubles and yes, it is our government's job to help make things right. However, some Pennsylvania lawmakers are stirring up controversy by wanting to remove the state's tax incentive program for filmmakers.
There is a $75 million tax incentive that allows movie and television productions that spend around 60 percent of their budgets in the state to receive up to 25 percent back in tax credit. Although it could seem like a slightly indulgent way for the film industry to make a little something back for manufacturing their movies and TV shows here, lawmakers should step back and take a closer look at the bigger picture.
With over 30 states holding similar incentives for the film industry, Pennsylvania has been standing comfortably within the top 5 states in attracting Hollywood business in an aggressively competitive field. With a steady stream of motion pictures pouring into the state, numerous businesses both locally owned and corporate have seen a constant increase in revenue, and will continue to do so as long as the product remains here. Some colleges have even begun offering new programs to train students for work in the film industry. With an abundant amount of crew and stagehands for the industry being hired straight from Pennsylvania, a dozen production sites and companies having been launched providing many job opportunities, as well as over $50 million in local spending, and some 25,000 hotel room nights in just one year in Southwestern Pennsylvania alone. These numbers are just the tip of the proverbial iceburg too, making it seem like the state's lawmakers are overlooking more than one positive outcome they’d be taking away from the area and the people involved in the industry.
Not only that, but cast and crew members usually live in the area where they are filming for the duration of the time, so they not only need basic necessities like groceries and clothing, but night outings, rental vehicles and haircuts are usually on their list as well. So, without the tax incentives all of this business would go somewhere else.
With a number of people who work in or around the industry writing to local newspapers complaining, and union members asking friends on the net to support the film industry and send their concerns about the revoke straight to the responsible lawmakers offices, it would seem that the majority rule is giving the idea two big fat thumbs down!
*by Candace who wishes she could remember where she put her bowl of jello!