There's no business like show business in Louisiana
head of Louisiana's Film and Entertainment Association: show business is big business
BATON ROUGE -- Throughout the fiscal session at the State Capitol, lawmakers will be evaluating countless tax incentives, rebates and credits to see if they provide any real benefit to the state. One credit that always seems to grab headlines is the Louisiana Film Tax Credit. State auditor Daryl Purpera said the credit cost the state roughly $170 million in revenue in 2010.
Will French, President of the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Association said that in order to quantify what the credit costs the state, you first have to figure out what the credit brings in to the state. French noted that the credits have catapulted Louisiana to the third most popular location for filming behind just california and New York, and he said Louisiana is not far from catching New York. French went on to explain what that means in everyday terms.
"Since its inception in 2002, the Louisiana Film Tax Credits have been responsible for creating more than fourteen thousand new jobs," attested French. "That's almost the same size as the state's seafood industry.".
According to French, the film industry brought $1.3 billion in spending into the state from outside of the state last year. but, French was quick to note that without the credits, that money is likely to dry up. Other states, he said, are on Louisiana's heels, and they are doing things exactly the way we are doing them now. For example, Georgia was one of the first states to follow Louisiana's lead with film tax credits and actually outpaced Louisiana last year for number of projects filmed.
French's concern is that if lawmakers alter or eliminate the film tax credit places like Georgia will "up the ante" to court the industry to them. He said, "the industry is on the move. With the increases in technology, you can make a film start to finish anywhere." He added that the "anywhere" will always be where the credits are the strongest.