Georgia’s Film Tax Credit Targeted by Powerful Lobbying Group

By Marc Lewyn   |   January 19, 2017

Georgia film tax credit - Atlanta Wealth Management Firm JOYN re: the Georgia Film Tax Incentive

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group backed by the Koch Brothers, is targeting Georgia’s film tax credit, arguing that it unfairly benefits film producers at the expense of other taxpayers.

How the tax credit works: If a movie or television production costs more than $500,000, the film production can qualify for up to a 30% tax credit against state income tax.

How these tax incentives can help you: Film companies can’t always use their full tax credit, so they sell them at a discount to Georgia taxpayers with high income who can use the tax credits to offset their state tax liability.

According to Craig Miller, owner of Craig Miller Productions and chair of the Georgia Film, Music, Digital Entertainment Advisory Commission, Georgia never would have attracted the film industry without the tax incentives.

Since film tax credits were first offered in 2008, Georgia has become the third largest film industry in the world. Jennifer Brett, a reporter with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reports that the industry has brought 80,000 jobs to the state and more than $4 billion in wages. In a single year, Georgia’s film industry can be credited with:

  • $2.2 billion in direct spending in Georgia
  • $7 billion in total economic impact
  • 245 feature films & television productions in Georgia (see what’s filming)

To put these numbers in context, the State of Georgia’s entire budget is $21 billion.

Jennifer Brett said she would be “shocked” if Georgia abandoned its film tax credit since Governor Deal has been “extremely supportive,” but Georgia taxpayers should not be complacent. Americans for Prosperity successfully attacked Florida’s film tax incentives, and when the state of North Carolina rolled back its tax incentives, film productions left. Brett explains that the first Hunger Games movie was filmed in North Carolina, but its three sequels were filmed in Georgia.

To voice our continued support for the Georgia film tax credit, we sent this letter to Governor Deal. You can send your own letter to Governor Deal by copying & customizing this sample text.

January XX, 2017

VIA FACSIMILE 404-657-7332

Office of the Governor

206 Washington Street

111 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

      RE: Georgia Film Tax Incentives

Dear Governor Deal:

I am writing to voice my continuing support for Georgia’s film tax credits.

Georgia has enjoyed a tremendous economic boom as a direct result of this incentive. Since film tax credits were first offered in 2008, Georgia’s film industry has grown to be the third largest in the world. In a single year, Georgia’s film industry has been responsible for $2.2 billion in direct spending in Georgia, and $7 billion in total economic impact. In addition, the film industry has brought 80,000 good-paying jobs to Georgia, representing billions in wages and additional tax revenue.

Americans for Prosperity, a powerful political advocacy group not based in Georgia, has targeted Georgia’s film tax credits as an unfair burden on our taxpayers. However, the Koch Brothers do not speak for me. When other states have repealed their film tax credits, those states have suffered economically as a result, a result that would be bad for Georgia.

I urge you to continue your strong support for Georgia’s film tax credit.

Sincerely,

Your info

Marc Lewyn

About the Author

Marc Lewyn is a partner, senior financial advisor, and CEO of Strategic Liquidity Services ("SLS") at JOYN. SLS provides a methodology designed to help business owners navigate the complex options available for generating liquidity from their businesses. Marc holds regular free workshops for business owners; learn more and RSVP on our event calendar.

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