Updated, 5:59 PM: Proposed changes to Georgia’s best film incentive program have been rejected. The proposed changes, which would limit tax credits to $ 900 million a year and bar film companies from selling credits to third parties, were supported by Georgia’s Senate Finance Committee but received no further legal action.
Previously, March 29: A bill pending in Georgia’s legislature would impose a 900 million cap on the amount of tax incentives that state pays filmmakers each year, making Georgia one of the country’s top filming destinations. That $ 900 million, which the state now pays each year, is more than any other film rebate in the country and more than double California’s current $ 440 million tax credit.
The proposed cap, backed by Georgia’s Senate Finance Committee, would also prohibit film companies from selling their tax credits – a common practice among non-Georgia-based companies under existing state regulations.
California has a hybrid mix of transferables: tax credits paid for independent films are transferable – meaning they can be sold to third parties – but tax credits are not transferable for transferring TV series and non-independent feature films.
Proponents of Georgia’s proposed change say an overhaul of state film subsidies is long overdue. Opponents, however, note that tax breaks support 75,000 jobs in the state and that changing the rebate system could seriously weaken it.
“Why should Georgia hook up to 30% of the cost for film and TV production?” Danny Kanso, a senior tax policy analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and a supporter of Overhaul, tweeted. “It is not fair to subsidize a huge chunk of permanent costs for an entire industry. It has been made worse by the current cap, disclosure or lack of basic protection. Georgians who want to see less than their tax dollars sent to subsidize out-of-state corporations and non-resident workers should support the important provision in the Senate Finance Committee on HB 1437 to eliminate the transferability of film tax credit sales. “
Georgia State Senator Nan Ork, a Democrat, has called for caution. “I would be very careful about hacking this tax credit,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Any changes to the Georgia Film Incentive must be approved by its Senate and House and signed into law by the Governor.