Lawmaker looks to double Pennsylvania’s film tax credit program

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Senator Tom Killion is calling for changes to provide a substantial boost to Pennsylvania’s film and television production industry.

Killion has introduced legislation to raise the cap on the state’s film production tax credit program from $65 million to $125 million.  The program is used to attract movie and TV productions from around the country, which bolsters economic activity throughout the state.

“Our film tax credit program is incredibly successful,” said Killion.  “It’s so successful that we have many movie, TV and commercial productions interested in locating here, but we reach the cap on the tax credit shortly after it’s authorized.  We’re losing countless job opportunities and tax revenue to other states that have more robust tax credit programs,” he added.

Killion noted that the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2017-2018 report on the film tax credit showed the remarkable impact of the program on the state.

The report highlighted that film and TV productions locating in Pennsylvania from the program’s inception in 2007 through last year generated a staggering $4.5 billion in total economic activity and $593 million in state and local taxes.

The report also indicated that the tax credit program has supported 21,000 full-time jobs.

In addition, the DCED report revealed that 750 applicants have applied for the program, and 478 productions have been awarded tax credits through 2018.  The tax credit program typically runs out of money by mid-year, and production companies locate their projects in other states that provide a tax credit incentive.

The production industry has long called for an increase in the film tax credit cap to allow for more film projects to participate in the program.  Over the last two years alone, over 30 projects representing $400 million of investment have gone elsewhere because the cap had already been reached in the tax credit program.  This number does not include productions that the state was not aware of that completely bypassed Pennsylvania after the tax credits had expired.

Killion has film and television production facilities in his Senate district, including SunCenter Studios in Aston where last year’s Creed II movie was filmed.

“I have repeatedly heard that we’re losing too many important projects to other states that have a higher tax credit cap or no cap at all.  These are missed economic opportunities for us,” Killion said.

“It’s important to remember that so many jobs and businesses that support film production are impacted by our tax credit.  This includes design and carpentry jobs, transportation and vehicle rental businesses, wardrobe-related businesses, food and catering services, lumber suppliers used for the enormous sets that are built for productions, and the list goes on,” he added.

Killion’s legislation to raise the film tax credit cap to $125 million has been formally introduced as Senate Bill 185.

“We need to help Pennsylvania’s economy and workers by becoming more competitive with the tax credit programs in other states by raising the cap here.  I’m hopeful we’ll do so during our current two-year legislative session,” said Killion.

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