Film Tax Credit Repeal to Receive Hearing
Alaska’s Film Production Incentive Program may soon be no more.
"It's more appropriately called a film tax subsidy, not a film tax credit," said state Rep. Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak).
Stoltze is sponsoring a bill to close the curtain on film tax credits in Alaska, which were passed with bi-partisan support in 2008.
Production companies seeking the credit for shooting a show, commercial or movie must document every dollar they spend in Alaska, then have the total verified by a certified professional accountant. House Bill 112 would repeal the 10-year extension on those credits that began in 2013.
Stoltze, who co-chairs the House Finance Committee, says $40 million in credits have already been cashed in -- revenue the state could have used for other needs.
"This tax credit would not just this year, but in future years allow us to make decisions like that, whether it's for roads or schools, things that are more the appropriate function of government," Stoltze said.
Some 84 percent of film production-related wages were paid to out-of-state workers, according to a legislative audit conducted in August 2012.
Supporters of the credits like Carolyn Robinson, owner of Anchorage-based production company Sprocket Heads LLC, say other film incentive states like Louisiana, New York and New Mexico gave their incentives time to work, and their patience paid off.
"They started out just like we did with not having a crew base, but having the passion and desire to create a strong economic base and bring a brand new clean industry to their state," Robinson said.
Robinson notes that very few lawmakers were opposed to the credits when the concept became law, and their sudden about-face may send the wrong message to movie producers.
"What are people supposed to think if the lawmakers do something, the governor signs it into law and (Stoltze) starts kicking the crap out of it?" Robinson said.
Public testimony on the bill will be heard Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. in the House Finance Committee, room 519 at the Alaska State Capitol.
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