The Georgia film and TV tax credit grew to a record $1.3 billion last year, as the state continues to be the nationwide leader in filming incentives.
The state’s tax credit is not capped, which means that all eligible productions qualify for a 30% break on their in-state costs. The next largest incentive programs are in New York and California, where they are capped at $420 million per year.
The state Department of Economic Development reported the latest figure, which represents the fiscal year ending last June 30, as the state begins its annual budget process this week.
Georgia’s film infrastructure has grown exponentially over the last decade, as hundreds of TV episodes and dozens of films are shot in the state every year. Among them are Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the Netflix shows “Ozark” and “Stranger Things,” and AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead.”
The state was among the first locations to reopen fully after the pandemic, and production has rebounded strongly from a down year in 2020. In the last two years, the state has issued $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion in tax credits.
The annual figure represents about 5% of the state’s general fund budget, and is slightly more than the state spends each year on its prison system.
The Georgia Legislature has rejected calls in recent years to cap the program. In 2020, the state Department of Audits and Accounts found that most of the benefit went to out-of-state companies and workers, and suggested imposing a cap.
Last March, the Georgia Senate Finance Committee proposed a $900 million annual cap. The proposal was quickly killed, however, and the House speaker warned that a cap could “run that industry out of Georgia.”
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently proposed extending the state’s tax credit to 2030, with a $330 million cap. Newsom also proposed making the state’s credit refundable, meaning that companies that have little or no tax liability in the state could trade their credits for cash.