A Note from Our National Board Member

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A Note from Our National Board Member

Charles Ferrara 

New Louisiana Film Tax Credit Bill Signed by the Governor 

By Charles Ferrara

As you are probably aware by now, thanks to the periodic updates shared with us by the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association, the new film tax credit bill, Senate Bill 254, was introduced by Sen. J. P. Morrell and successfully approved by the Louisiana Legislature in the recent legislative session. The governor signed the bill June 16.

Senate Bill 254:

1. Reduces the basic tax credit per production from 30 to 25 percent.

2. Provides an additional 5 percent credit for filming outside of metro New Orleans.

3. Caps each credit at 40 percent.

4. Reduces the cost per movie to $20 million from $30 million.

5. Sets aside $15 million per year for productions that originate in Louisiana.

The new incentive program will hopefully lend an air of stability to the program and entice hesitant producers back to Louisiana. It should also help us to successfully compete against Georgia and other venues for productions to re-establish our area as “Hollywood South.”

On an even more positive note, a new film studio, Starlight Studios, which includes a production facility and office building dedicated to the film industry in Louisiana, has opened in New Orleans East after five years of development. Starlight’s 12-acre campus includes two soundstages (with two more to be built) and office space. One soundstage is 45 feet tall and has 32,000 square feet of space; the other soundstage has 13,000 square feet. One of the newly opened stages has already been leased by the producers of a television series. Starlight Studios joins the Big Easy Studios, Celtic Studios (Baton Rouge), Deep South Studios, Millennium Studios (Shreveport), the Robert E. Nims Center Studios, and Second Line Stages to provide the infrastructure that will help ensure a robust return of film and television production to our area.

The legislation and the history behind it is complex, so we will not attempt to explain it in this article. If you are interested in the details surrounding the legislation, please see the following websites and/or publications.

Additional information provided by local Secretary Frank Boimare. 

References

More information on SB 254 may be found here:

“SB 254 by Senator J.P. Morrell.” 2017 Regular Session, Louisiana State Legislature. Link

“Film & Television.” Louisiana Economic Development (Key Industries/Entertainment). Link

Louisiana Film Entertainment Association (LFEA). Link

The following articles and other references provide a sampling of articles that add additional perspective about the Louisiana tax incentives for the film and television industry and SB 254.

Associated Press (AP). “Louisiana's film tax credit program to continue, with a cap.” NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (Louisiana Politics and Government). NOLA Media Group, 4 June 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

Bridges, Tyler. “Major downturn plagues Louisiana’s film, TV industry ‘Hollywood South’ after big changes to tax credit program.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 3 April 2016. Web. 21 June 2017. Link.

---------. “Key changes facing Louisiana’s film-subsidy program aimed at taking burden off taxpayers.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 19 March 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

---------. “State Sen. JP Morrell on crusade to eliminate wasteful tax exemptions, put others on notice.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 26 March 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

---------. “Reimagining Louisiana’s film tax program: Gov. John Bel Edwards, allies have new plan.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 6 April 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

---------. “New study of Louisiana film tax credit program again finds expensive, ‘significant hit’ to budget.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 11 April 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

---------. “Film tax credit program wins Senate approval, advances to House panel.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 17 May 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

---------. “Louisiana film tax credit revamp wins committee approval; here’s what's next.” The Advocate (theadvocate.com). The Advocate, 22 May 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

Crockett, Jennifer. “New film studio opens in New Orleans East.” WDSU-TV (wdsu.com). Hearst Television Inc., 19 June 2017. Web. 21 June 2017. Link.

MacCash, Doug. “$12.5 million Starlight movie studio opens in New Orleans East.” NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (New Orleans Movies). NOLA Media Group, 19 June 2017. Web. 21 June 2017. Link.

Thomas, Jabari. “Hollywood South news with Jabari: Local businesses rely on the film industry” [video: 00:04:01]. WGNO-TV (wgno.com). WGNO-TV/Tribune Broadcasting, 29 May 2017. Web. 20 June 2017. Link.

[Ed.: There are more references in local and trade publication and news outlets, but the above sources present a reasonably simple view of the issues and the processes involved. See previous copies of the newsletter in our archives for links to two audiovisual presentations that explain the initial set of changes to the tax incentive program.]

Locals: