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Strickland promises tax credits for making movies in Ohio

January 29, 2009 - Andy Gray
There was one entertainment-related bit in Gov. Ted Strickland’s State of the State Address on Wednesday.

Stickland said he will include an Ohio film production tax credit in his proposed 2010-11 biennial budget. The credit would provide an incentive to production companies to make their movies in the state.

Tax credits for industries that toss around money like the film business does may make some folks recoil, but they are the norm in many states. And the states (and countries) that give tax breaks attract the majority of the business. Very few directors have the clout to shoot wherever they want, regardless of costs. That’s why you’ll occasionally see a palm tree in a movie set in the Midwest or why Toronto regularly plays New York City on screen.

Barry Levinson, the producer and director who made several films and the television series “Homicide: Life in the Streets” in his native Baltimore, recently was quoted urging Maryland to create greater incentives to lure more work to that state. According to the story, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” originally was set in Baltimore but the tale was moved to New Orleans to take advantage of tax credits in Louisiana.

The choice comes down to getting a portion of the taxes and bringing work to the state or collecting all the taxes on nothing.

Like most of the State of the State Address, there were no specifics from Strickland, and he vetoed a tax credit proposal in December.

In a statement issued after the address, Ivan Schwarz, director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, said, “Governor Strickland’s announcement that he will propose a film production tax credit is a crucial step toward building a thriving film industry in Ohio. While the Strickland administration has yet to release the details of its proposal, based on our conversations we are confident that it will provide the type of incentive the industry needs to bring film work to Ohio.

“Public investment in the film industry pays off almost immediately through the creation of higher paying jobs. We are looking forward to working with the State and the film industry to put Ohioans to work and, by doing so, prove that Ohio’s film industry is a good investment.”

 
 

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