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Mar.30 - Rural counties get a leg up to attract film/TV productions in House Bill 199

Category: Entertainment Business

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

March 30, 2017 – The Georgia Senate debated House Bill 199 Thursday, and amendments proposed by the House, a bill to increase the total tax credits amount available for the film production industry in the state over the next five years. And, the bill adds tax credits for video gaming production companies that have at least 50% ownership by a Georgia company. 

The video game industry has been identified as a new opportunity for jobs and business development in Georgia.

The bill also gives an additional 5% tax credit opportunity for productions shot in what are termed ‘Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties' - more rural counties of the State - over the current and proposed new tax credit levels that will be available. 

“We thought that 30% (included in a Senate amendment) was a very generous increase,” explained Sen. Hufstetler, “and we should tow the line," he said, in the total amount of tax credits that both bodies keep adding in for various industries.  He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and urged a “No” vote on what the House members had approved.

But the House version passed the Senate Thursday afternoon by 38 – 17, with bi-partisan support.  Hufstetler termed the new levels of tax credits “fiscally irresponsible,” and said that the State is now looking at a total of $588 million in projected total tax credits approved, up from a prior $199 million level.   

Proponents of the higher levels of tax credits for film and video production companies argued that the bill increases the opportunities to bring more jobs, to expand the industry in Georgia, and the approach used by Georgia over the past five years is working.

Other Bills Now Being Debated

The Senate just disagreed with the substitute version the House sent back on SB 71, by a voice vote …a and an applause, as the disagreements continue between the House and the Senate today over a number of pieces of legislation.

SB71 deals with Bankruptcy filings, including the list of property that can be added, and protects the assets people have in their health savings accounts and medical savings accounts from their bankruptcy filing.  But, the House added an amendment that deals with sexual assaults on Georgia colleges and universities.

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