The three employees running Kentucky’s film office spent the last week of January watching emails roll in.
Each ping was a new application for the state’s film incentive program, which promises to reimburse companies up to 35 percent of qualifying dollars they spend in the commonwealth.
By the end of the month, the office had received 214 requests — more than the 150 applications it got in all of 2017, according to an analysis of film office data.
The rush of applications followed Gov. Matt Bevin’s recommendation that state officials suspend new applications amid an unprecedented budget shortfall. They set a deadline of Feb. 1.
With the cutoff days away, companies near and far began madly submitting requests for credits ranging from $8,000 to $14 million. By mid-April, a state board approved more than $428 million in potential incentives that can be claimed through 2022 — including more than $250 million to one company alone.