Georgia lawmakers hear more testimony about the film tax credit

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Film industry stakeholders spoke to Georgia lawmakers Wednesday about the benefits of the state’s Film Tax Credit during the second day of meetings examining the tax incentives.

The incentives recently came under fire after state auditors found loopholes in the process and an overestimation of their impact. Speakers at Wednesday’s House Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment Committee meeting said the film tax credit has been a stronghold for the community.

Michael Akins, business agent for a local chapter of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said the credit has allowed his chapter to grow and supplied the group’s members with sustainable employment.

Akins told committee members that the film tax credits have stimulated a 1,300 percent growth in his membership. The union chapter has grown from 400 members in 2008 with $8 million in wages to more than 5,000 members with $300 million in wages in 2019, most of whom are Georgia residents, Akins said.

“That money is staying here. Those wages are staying here,” he said. “It’s being generated here in the state.”

Last month, state auditors released two audit reports citing more than a dozen discrepancies in the state’s film tax credit program. Enacted in 2005, Georgia’s film tax credit gives a 20 percent tax incentive to production companies that spend at least $500,000 on selected projects in the state. Companies that promote the state in their work get an additional 10 percent credit. See more here.

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