Maryland General Assembly approves $25M in film production tax credits.

Did you hear the roar? Opening Day is not until Friday in Baltimore, but Maryland’s film and television crew base  and hundreds of small businesses are cheering the General Assembly for extending the film production the tax credit, and approving an additional $17.5 million in tax credits for eligible televison and film projects in 2014. The story was different in 2009 when the then-existing film incentive program had all but lost its funding. Maryland’s storied crew base scattered to jobs on productions in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and other states with active incentive programs because no film or television projects came to Maryland.  The Maryland Film Production Employment Act of 2011 converted Maryland’s incentive program from a grant program to a better-funded tax credit program, with special incentives to attract television series. The new program was immediately successful,  bringing Maryland’s film and television crew members home to work on great projects like HBO’s VEEP and Netflix’s House of Cards. Senate Bill 183,  sponsored by Senator Ed Kasemeyer and passed today in Maryland’s General Assembly, maintains the current program of up to $7.5 million annually in film tax credits through 2016 and increases the ceiling to $25 million for 2014. OberIPwatch contributor and Maryland Film Industry Coalition chair, E. Scott Johnson, quoted in yesterday’s Business Monthly, said that the increase is

“really a testament” to how successful the previous bill, the Maryland Film Production Employment Act of 2011, has been.” How successful is that? “It’s worked so well that it tapped out,” said Johnson, “and we had to borrow some funding from future years to keep ‘VEEP’ and ‘House of Cards’ shooting here this year.”

Not everyone is a fan. The Sun reports that some legislators like Baltimore County Del. Kathy Szeliga felt that SB 183 called on Maryland taxpayers to help “Hollywood fat cats.” Senator Kassmeyer, however, estimates that 5000 jobs were created by the 2011 tax credit program. Under the Maryland program eligible filmmakers “get a tax credit, which is based on a percentage of the company’s qualified in-state spend. Those expenditures are then audited by the state, and the credit is granted on the production company’s next corporate tax return.”

Leave a Reply