Film tax credit extension rejected in House

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The House rejected an attempt to extend the state’s $ 180 million film tax credit to 2028 from its current expiration date of 2025. The bill began as an effort to enticing companies to make more productions outside of New Orleans, but has become a widespread extension. of the program that failed on a 45 to 37 shy voices of the 70 voices needed for the passage. 23 members were absent.

Opponents took turns hammering the bill on the ground, calling the film tax program a waste, expensive and an example of the legislature’s inability to prioritize needs such as education. Mandeville Representative Richard Nelson said this year the legislature could only offer teachers a meager pay rise of $ 800 that costs $ 60 million a year while giving Hollywood $ 180 million a year. Nelson also noted that the large cost of credit overshadows that of other important government programs.

“We spend 110 million dollars a year for the whole community and technical system, 180 million dollars! Nelson said. “So, are we prepared to spend more money on Hollywood tax credits than we spend on the whole community and technical college system?” “

Opponents also cited a study that found the program only generates 22 cents in revenue for every dollar the state spends on tax credits. They also circulated a report which showed that over 60% of the credit goes to crown corporations and that many productions using the credit receive more credits than they pay in payroll.

Supporters cited figures from the Lieutenant Governor’s office showing the program can be expensive but has an annual economic impact of $ 1.3 billion on tourism as visitors from all over the world come to see their favorite shows. .

“Don’t you really think it works like this?” I invite you to come to West Monroe, come see Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, ”said Columbia rep Niel Riser. “Are you talking about it having no impact somewhere?” In my neighborhood of Little House, they made a movie, on the island of Sicily in Louisiana, and they spent a lot of money there. Who ever thought they would come there? “

Riser introduced the bill on behalf of its mover, Senator Slidell, Sharon Hewitt. The Senate approved the legislation at the end of April by 34 votes to 3.

Conservatives like Alexandria Representative Lance Harris countered that the credit is worth about half of the 0.45% sales tax extension approved by lawmakers in 2018.

“Your voters are paying more so you can cover a deficit as you allow the film industry to take $ 100 million from the state,” Harris said. “Yes, we pay Hollywood $ 180 million a year, but my constituents pay extra sales tax every day when they buy the basic necessities of life.”

Friday Riser has said he would like to bring the bill back for another vote, but is concerned that the 70 votes needed for the passage could be a tall order, especially with the Speaker of the House against the extension.



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