BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – For a long time, Louisiana has held the reputation as the “Hollywood South” thanks to some tax credits that have helped bring in those productions. But those incentives are set to expire in 2025.
So, to avoid potentially losing business, lawmakers will debate a bill to extend those tax credits for at least another 10 years. With all of the beautiful locations we have in our state to shoot some of our favorite movies, Louisiana is considered the place to film. However, some argue the amount of money we spend on keeping those production companies here would be better spent on more pressing issues.
HB562 would bring on another decade of financial incentives for motion picture companies to take advantage of, about $180 million annually. It’s a proposal met with joy by many working in the industry who would hate to see their jobs go elsewhere. But those who aren’t on board say the return is only pennies compared to the state’s investment.
In October of 2022, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development found that our state only got 23¢ in state taxes for every dollar of credits these companies received.
Folks like state Rep. Richard Nelson (R), who’s also running for governor, would rather see the money go toward things he says are more pressing at the moment. Things like education, infrastructure, or our police departments. A similar bill was filed in 2021 but failed.
“I just don’t think the return on investment for the taxpayers is there. I think that would be a better use of the taxpayer money rather than giving it to private businesses which a lot of them are run by out-of-state companies in like California and places like that. I think really the taxpayers in Louisiana have more pressing needs,” said Rep. Nelson.
According to the LED’s report, about 78% of all movies filmed in Louisiana are shot in New Orleans, which is House Democrat Mandie Landry’s district.
And she says the 2022 study by L-E-D can be misleading.
“It doesn’t take into account all the other investments. It doesn’t take into account people have jobs that are not dependent on tourism or oil and gas that are apparently unstable. As we saw during COVID, the one thing that was stable was entertainment. And so, we kept on keeping on here and that’s a major reason to keep them,” Rep. Landry added.
Chris Stelly with Louisiana Entertainment, shares with me how important the movie industry is for us. And what it would mean if we saw it disappear.
“It’s doing several key things for our economy including diversifying our economy and offering great job opportunities for Louisiana residents. This industry alone supports over 10,000 jobs throughout the entire state. So, as you’re looking at industries of the future and industries that are recession proof and industries that are this that and the other, the film industry is one that’s a perfect fit for our state,” Stelly explained.
The bill is currently waiting to be taken up for it’s final vote on the Senate floor before making it to the Governor.
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