La. lawmakers vote to extend film tax credit
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana State Senate overwhelmingly approved the extension of the film tax credit program, providing a significant boost to the state’s film industry, while it grapples with the effects of an ongoing writer’s strike in Hollywood.
The program, which currently offers a $150 million tax credit, will now be extended through the year 2031, marking one of the longest extensions the credit has ever received.
“It reaches well beyond New Orleans and Baton Rouge - $350 million a year in salaries and 10,000 jobs,” said Sen. Sharon Hewitt, (R-Slidell).
The film tax credit program has been instrumental in attracting numerous productions to Louisiana with as many as 15 different projects simultaneously taking place across the state at its peak.
Businesses like OPA Graphics, which specialize in producing sets for these film productions, have thrived due to the increased demand.
“[Films] have been a growth driver for us in terms of capitalization, what machinery we should purchase and to try to keep up their demands,” said Mark Backus, with OPA Graphics.
Despite the favorable news regarding the tax credit extension, the situation in Hollywood has cast a shadow over the local film industry. Screenwriters in Hollywood have been on strike for over a month, severely impacting film production in Louisiana. The strike has caused a slowdown, leaving hundreds of industry workers unemployed.
“The drop off has been significant. We’ve been doing about six to eight different productions at one time up until recently, but now we’re sitting on zero for most of this year,” said Backus.
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However, recent developments with the Directors Guild settlement have given some hope to those in the industry.
“Since they were able to get a deal without utilizing their authorization to strike, that’s very positive,” said Cory Parker, with IATSE Local 478.
Backus remains optimistic about the future of Louisiana’s film industry. He eagerly anticipates the resolution of the writer’s strike, which would allow his company to resume producing set backdrops at the usual pace. Backus, like many others, believes that a swift resolution to the strike is crucial to bringing the local film industry back to its vibrant state.
Currently, a few Louisiana film productions are still in progress, but the lack of new scripts due to the writer’s strike poses a significant challenge. Without a settlement, the future of these productions remains uncertain, and the potential for work drying up looms over the industry.
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