Changes in the way Louisiana honors tax credits for the film industry over the past year have proven to be very costly for Hollywood South. Louisiana earned that nickname after more and more production companies were coming to the Bayou State for film and televisions products.

The incentives were not only great locations, great people to work with, and accommodating local governments. There were also the really big and juicy tax credits our state was extending.

Under the final year of the Jindal administration those tax credits were capped by action of the legislature. The result has been a dramatic slowdown in the state's up and coming film industry.

Patrick Mulhearn is Celtic Media Centre Executive Director.  He told the Louisiana Radio Network that it's not so much the tax credits the state is offering as it is the way state honors those credits that have been issued.

It puts a limit on the number of rebate coupons the state will honor. If a retailer was offering a mail-in rebate coupon and you weren't sure if it would be honored, chances are you'll shop somewhere else.

He went on to say that there are fewer and fewer jobs in Louisiana's film industry to be had as more and more production companies take their projects to state's and nation's that will guarantee payment on the tax credit.

The problem was the state was losing revenue on almost every tax credit it issued. So it made total sense to at least put a cap on what the final damage could be every year.

Mulhearn suggested that unemployment in the film industry could reach as high as 70% if the legislature doesn't take some kind of action.

We can fix it without adding a dime to the state budget, and it would save money in the long run. We need to transition from a redemption cap to an issuance cap.

There has been no word as to whether or not this change in the film tax credit program will be taken up by lawmakers. If it is, it will have wait until a possible second special session has been called.


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