It seems as if every state in America is jumping on the incentive bandwagon — and by the looks of their Web sites, that seems to be true. Daily Variety updates the latest developments around the country:
New developments: Several minor amendments to the state’s incentive program were signed into law last year. Notable additions: Arizona residents must be employed on all qualifying productions; once a production has been OK’d by the state, principal photography must begin within four months; no more than $5 million per application can be pre-approved.
Film commission: Arizona Film Commission
Topper: Harry Tate, director
New developments: In the last year, state’s General Assembly has instituted a major incentive program, most notably a 30% tax credit for qualified in-state expenses.
Film commission: Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
Topper: Heidi Hamilton, division director – film
New developments: State recently doubled its yearly incentive allotment to $20 million.
Film commission: Florida Film Office
Topper: Susan Simms, Los Angeles liaison
New developments: Refundable tax credit has been sweetened to a 15% rebate for productions shot on Oahu or 20% for shows shot on the other main islands.
Film commission: Hawaii Film Office
Topper: Donne Dawson, commissioner
New developments: Last May, the Production Services Tax Credit Act went into effect. It includes credits of 20% on all Illinois expenditures as well 20% on salaries of state residents (each credit is capped at $100,000 per production).
Film commission: Illinois Film Office
Topper: Brenda Sexton, managing director
New developments: State already has the most attractive incentive package in the U.S. Now it’s beefing up resources to accommodate the huge influx of out-of-town productions. Recently, the state announced construction will begin this year on FilmPort, a $500 million, 925,000-square-foot studio in West Baton Rouge. Along with a soundstage, post house and crew housing, the facility will also host training programs for production work technicians.
Film commission: Governor’s Office of Film and Television Development
Topper: Alex Schott, managing director
New developments: Last year, the state sweetened its incentive program significantly. The new system offers a graded tax rebate (12%-20%) depending on budget (capped at $2 million per project).
Film commission: Michigan Film Office
Topper: Janet Lockwood, director
New developments: Earlier this year, the state enhanced its incentive program. Additions include production rebates ranging from 20%-30% (depending on budget), a 10% salary rebate for out-of-state workers whose salaries are less than $1 million, and a sales tax exemption/reduction for certain materials bought in the state.
Film commission: Mississippi Film Office
Topper: Ward Emling, director
New developments: In 2006, New Jersey added a major component to its incentive package: a 20% tax credit for productions that spend at least 60% of their budget in the state.
Film commission: New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission
Topper: Joseph Friedman, exec director
New developments: State, which has seen business skyrocket in recent years, upped its no-cap transferable production refund (not just a credit) to 25% from 20%.
Film commission: New Mexico Film Office
Topper: Lisa Strout, director
New developments: Last July, the state upgraded its incentive program — now productions can receive cash rebates up to 20% on employee wages and 30% on goods and services if they spend at least $1 million in the state.
Film commission: South Carolina Film Commission
Topper: Jeff Monks, commissioner