You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alabama ups tax credits for film biz

Octavia Spencer honored at the Statehouse

On the same day that Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer was honored at the Alabama Statehouse, a state Senate panel approved a measure to increase tax credits for production companies filming in the state.

The measure approved by the Senate committee Wednesday was passed without opposition by the state House of Representatives in February.

“I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all those who voted to pass (Rep.) Terri Collins’ incentives bill,” Spencer said.

“I’m going to do what I can to get more movies made here.”

The legislation would increase the overall amount the state can spend on incentives from $10 million annually to $15 million by the year 2013. It would also expand from $10 million to $20 million the amount that can be spent on a production to qualify for the tax incentives, meaning mostly smaller productions could take advantage of the incentives.

The cap on incentives was originally $25 million, but the committee voted to lower it.

In a public hearing on the bill last week, Collins said she hoped it would encourage productions set in Alabama to actually film in the state.

“It’s disappointing to see ‘Forrest Gump’ and the stadium he’s supposed to be running in — the University of Alabama stadium — is not actually the University of Alabama stadium,” she said. She also noted that the 2002 film “Sweet Home Alabama” starring Reese Witherspoon was filmed in Georgia.

Some in the committee were skeptical as to whether the legislation’s modest increase in tax incentives would actually draw more movies to be filmed in Alabama.

“The (incentive) number keeps going up making it more and more attractive, but I don’t think we’re losing them (film productions) because we don’t have a bigger package,” said Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford, D-Russellville.

“I don’t think us tweaking that number will bring us more,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re really getting our bang for our buck.”

Opposition was stronger from the Alabama Education Association. Money to provide the credits would come from the state’s Education Trust Fund — the budget set aside to pay for public schooling. Proponents say the tax money made from the film productions would go right back to the trust fund, but opponents weren’t so sure.

“What we ask is that the school children don’t subsidize industry,” said Susan Kennedy, revenue manager for AEA, during the public hearing. “We are not opposed to incentives, what we’re not for is spending $25 million to get $3 million. That’s not a good deal.”

Kennedy handed committee members a 2010 report by the Washington D.C.-based think tank Tax Foundation that found jobs created by visiting film productions are often temporary and offer limited upward mobility. The report also finds that often film incentives make little discernible benefit to a state’s economy.

Kennedy said the state spends $5 million annually on classroom supplies for its 750,000 public school students, and the $15 million cap for film incentives represented three times the state’s school supply budget.

More Film

  • Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) and Bella (Amber)

    China's Bona Film Boards Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra,' 'A Dog's Way Home' (EXCLUSIVE)

    China’s Bona Film Group is co-financing Brad Pitt space adventure “Ad Astra,” one of several films in a strong slate of international movies the company plans to release in the Middle Kingdom over the next year. Bona has also acquired Roland Emmerich’s war spectacular “Midway” and is investing in “A Dog’s Way Home,” the sequel [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Sets Pre-Sales Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” sets a pre-sales record, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hits a milestone, and SAG-AFTRA promotes four executives.  PRE-SALES RECORD “Aquaman” has set a pre-sales record for Atom Tickets, topping “Deadpool 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Black Panther.” “Clearly, ‘Aquaman’ has captured the attention of movie fans with its larger-than-life adventure that must [...]

  • 'Liga' Kicks Off At Ventana Sur's

    Ventana Sur: 'La Liga' Kicks Off at Buenos Aires' Animation!

    Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three key events in Ibero-American animation, will join forces to create La Liga (The League), as announced Wednesday at an Animation! round table hosted by the Quirino Awards, titled “Iberoamerican Alliance Models.” Speakers included Quirino Awards promoter José Luis Farias, Mexico’s Pixelatl director José Iñesta, Gonzalo [...]

  • The Quake Review

    Film Review: 'The Quake'

    Roar Uthaug’s 2015 “The Wave” revived the pleasures of the 1970s disaster-movie cycle in a form that seemed purer than the never-quite-dead genre’s recent Stateside incarnations — most of which seem to involve Dwayne Johnson in a generic pileup of CGI perils. “The Wave” wasn’t high art, but it was entertainment that delivered some standard [...]

  • The Mule trailer

    Film Review: Clint Eastwood in 'The Mule'

    From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content