Maryland budget threatens film incentives

April 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 15 (UPI) -- Maryland's budget impasse is threatening tax incentives that lure big budget Hollywood productions to the state, experts say.

One of the items left in the wake of last week's legislative come-and-go was Senate Bill 1066, a program to bump up available tax credit money to Hollywood filmmakers from $7.5 million to $22.5 million a year and extend the credit program from 2014 to 2016, The Baltimore Sun reported.

"The production incentive program Maryland enacted last year was an instant success, attracting world-class projects," says E. Scott Johnson, chairman of the Maryland Film Industry Coalition. But he said productions "will almost certainly leave Maryland for subsequent seasons" unless the new incentives are approved.

After "The Wire" wrapped in 2007, film production all but stopped in Maryland but last month's "Game Change," HBO docudrama about the 2008 presidential election filmed in Baltimore pumped some life into the production scene, the Sun said.

Kevin Spacey comes home from England to star with Robin Wright to film for three months in Baltimore and Harford County in a $100 million Netflix political drama called "House of Cards."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus also stars in "VEEP," which was filmed for HBO in Columbia.

But producers say they can't film without tax incentives so they can more easily spend money on essentials such as lumber, paint, housing, salaries, rental cars, catering and renting buildings.

"Thousands of workers and businesses are anxiously waiting to hear the fate of SB1066," says Debbie Donaldson Dorsey, director of the Baltimore Film Office. "At this moment, we are simply on hold."

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