Written by Mollee D. Harper
“After all, tomorrow is another day!” – Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind
Georgia’s film tax credit program is the largest and one of the most successful entertainment incentive programs in the country today in terms of economic impact to the state, as well as national recognition. With a strong foundation in place through GEIIA, numerous studios, local businesses, schools, and residents have embraced the legislation, incentives and industry and are working together toward a common goal in economic growth and prosperity for the state. The combination of effective legislation and local support has paid off quickly. Georgia was ranked the third largest producer of film and television in the United States in 2015.
While generous tax credits do equate to “lost tax revenues” in hundreds of millions of dollars, Georgia seems to have the fortitude to invest in the industry wholeheartedly believing 70% is more than enough. When GEIIA was first passed in 2005, Georgia reported $10.3 million in film incentives through the program. By 2010, that amount had increased to $140.6 million. In 2013, the total value of the film tax credit claimed was $228 million. And by last year, the amount of tax credits issued by the state had exploded to just over $504 million.
Perhaps more than a lucky roll of the dice, Georgia’s return-on-investment on the industry’s 70% spend in the state far exceeds the 30% lost revenue. According to Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, the production of several hundred feature films, commercials, and television shows were reported to have had an overall economic impact of $6 billion to the state in 2015. The $6 billion in annual entertainment revenues translates to thousands of new jobs, the establishment of hundreds of new businesses, as well as the revitalization of communities statewide including Fayetteville, Crawfordville, Savannah, Rome, Albany and Valdosta.
Policymakers continue to build off GEIIA’s foundation with a strong focus to develop a film-ready workforce in Georgia. In 2015, Governor, Nathan Deal created the Georgia Film Academy as an official forum to bring the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia and film industry experts together to prepare Georgia’s workforce to meet the industry’s needs and maintain the exciting momentum for Georgia’s film industry.
The results are not just shared in revenues throughout the Peach State, but in national recognition on the big screen as well. Last year alone, Georgia produced 248 films, television shows and commercials drawing national talent to its stage including Marvel’s “Ant-Man” starring Paul Rudd, “Lila & Eve” starring Jennifer Lopez, “Vacation” starring Ed Helms, “A Walk in the Woods” starring Robert Redford, “Goosebumps” starring Jack Black, and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” starring Jennifer Lawrence.
The combination of financial incentives, with the extraordinary local support by government, businesses and schools, has given Georgia’s film industry a serious platform in order to compete on the national stage in entertainment. Ranked number three in the U.S. in production, with state revenues of $6 billion last year Georgia’s report card is more than impressive.
It’s clear the “Hollywood of the South” has only just begun its long romance with the film industry. While some may still have there eyes on California and New York, Georgia’s red carpet is filling up fast and is one you won’t want to miss in the years to come.
Overview of the Georgia Film Tax Credit
Georgia USA: Film Industry Generate $6 Billion for Georgia’s Economy
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