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Solons on biz’s side

Tax-credit bill unveiled to fight runaway prod'n

HOLLYWOOD — Sen. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-Ark.), giving a shot in the arm to Hollywood, introduced Tuesday a bill for a wage-based tax credit to fight runaway production.

“Over the past decade, production of American film producers has fled our borders for foreign locations, a migration that results in a massive loss of the U.S. economy,” she said. “My legislation will encourage producers to bring feature film and TV production projects back to cities and towns across the United States.”

The bill — co-sponsored by Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) — calls for offering the credit to productions with budgets between $200,000 and $10 million. The credit, which would cover films, network TV, cable, miniseries, episodic series and movies of the week, will be 25% for the first $25,000 in wages per employee and 35% in low-income areas. The provisions are for productions that are substantially shot in the U.S.

Illinois steps up

“Chicago and Illinois have a long history of film production, and movie production means jobs and business for our state. It’s time the Canadians faced real competition for the movie business,” Durbin said.

Lincoln cited studies that show runaway production causes more than $10 billion in lost economic activity. Backers of the credit argue that it represents an effective means of counteracting incentives offered by less costly foreign locales.

“The Directors Guild of America and the industry alliance are deeply grateful to Sen. Lincoln and co-sponsors for seeking to help the American motion picture industry compete in the international marketplace on a level playing field,” said DGA prexy Jack Shea.

Lincoln rolled out a long list of industry endorsers, including the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the American Film Marketing Assn., the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers, the DGA, the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., Film US (a group of over 200 film commissions), Producers Guild of America, Production Equipment Rental Assn., Recording Musicians Assn., Screen Actors Guild and Theatrical and TV Motion Picture Special Payments Fund.

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