Louisiana moves closer towards capping filming incentive with $180m fund
Authorities in Louisiana have moved closer towards reforming the state’s generous filming incentive by agreeing a USD 180 million annual cap to rein in spending. Mark Wahlberg’s true-life oil rig drama Deepwater Horizon is the latest high-profile production to film locally.
Lawmakers were expected to discuss capping the annual film fund in the current legislative session, but USD 180 million is towards the lower end of the scale that was first mooted at the end of April.
The bill must still be signed by the Governor of Louisiana to become law and many in the state’s production community say they will campaign for a veto, reports NOLA.com.
Louisiana only pays out film tax credits when all expenditures are fully certified. This has led to the concern that the allocated fund for any given 12-month period could still be depleted by productions that shot in previous years, leading to uncertainty about how much money is actually available under the cap.
“The wheels are going to start coming off the wagon because people are going to be frightened and not know what to do if the state's not going to accept [new applications for credits],” said Patrick Mulhearn, executive director of Celtic Studios in Baton Rouge, in comments to the outlet.
“When you're talking about credit programmes like Georgia who don't have a cap, Louisiana just suddenly becomes less than competitive.”
Supporters of the cap feel Louisiana’s film tax credits need to be channelled more effectively into the state economy. They want to prioritise lower-budget local shoots, rather than targeting big-budget Hollywood productions like Jurassic World - which filmed its studio work in Louisiana - and the upcoming Terminator Genisys and Wahlberg's Deepwater Horizon (above).
The argument against filming incentives is potent in the US but routinely ignores the fact that Hollywood shoots usually spend considerably more on location – both directly and indirectly – than they receive in filming incentive support.
Should the Governor sign off on the cap, Louisiana’s film fund will lag far behind rivals California and New York.
(Image: Enrique Chediak)
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