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Va. Senate panel passes amended motion picture tax credit bill

Wes Bunch • Feb 25, 2014 at 11:34 PM

RICHMOND — Delegate Terry Kilgore’s motion picture tax credit legislation overcame another hurdle Tuesday after it passed the Virginia Senate’s Finance Committee in an amended form.

Kilgore (R-Gate City) said he and Finance Committee members agreed that the differences between the House and Senate versions of the HB460 could be worked out in conference.

“I am sure that HB460 will get worked out in conference,” Kilgore said. “It is important to both the commonwealth and the Virginia film industry that we work towards a meaningful solution.”

The version of the bill passed Tuesday recommended a total of $7.5 million in grant funds and $5 million in additional tax credits for those producing films in the commonwealth. The version of the legislation that passed the House of Delegates called for tax credits totaling $12.5 million.

Kilgore said the legislation is needed to boost the growth of Virginia’s burgeoning film industry.

“These tax credits are essential in bringing more films to Virginia,” Kilgore said. “The film industry is becoming a new thriving industry here in the commonwealth. The jobs that are coming from the film industry are good paying jobs and they are bringing a lot of other economic development opportunities as well.”

Kilgore’s bill would change Virginia’s motion picture income tax credit by increasing the percentage of qualifying expenses eligible to be claimed by film producers from the current rate of 15 percent to 20 percent. Films produced in economically distressed areas — like the recently completed motion picture ‘Big Stone Gap’ — would see the percentage changed from 20 to 25 percent.

Kilgore’s bill also called for the total biennium cap from credits to rise from $5 million to $25 million through 2023.

Virginia’s motion picture incentives have been in place since 1997, however, Kilgore said they weren’t funded enough to make an impact until 2010.

Kilgore said the 1997 legislation fostered growth in film industry employment of 15.7 percent and increased the industry’s economic impact by 14.7 percent.

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