Alabama State Senator Del Marsh has proposed a bill that would suspend film incentives for a couple of years in Alabama which could be detrimental to the film industry that has recently developed in Mobile.
Interestingly enough, Senator Marsh helped create the Entertainment Industry Incentive Act of 2009 which helped bring a lot of production companies to Mobile.
As it’s written right now, Senate Bill 473 would suspend film incentives until 2016 but Senator Marsh says his goal is not to stop incentives. Instead, he wants to change the bill’s language.
“All we really want to do is make sure everyone follows the intent of the law which is to use at most, 35 percent of the money they make on tax credits and not to exceed that,” Marsh said.
Senator Marsh says the University of Alabama conducted a study on “An Evolution of Alabama’s Entertainment Industry Incentives Program and the Economic Impact of the Program’s Productions.”
He said the study focused on 24 films shot and produced in Alabama in the last three years and the study found production companies are getting more money than they’re supposed to.
“We intended giving tax incentives to these companies up to 35 percent but some of these companies are taking tax incentives that equate to 80 percent of the money they’ve invested in Alabama,” Marsh explained.
Right now, the State of Alabama will reimburse movie companies up to $15 million dollars for whatever they spend in the state.
By 2015, that cap moves to $20 million dollars and he wants to fix the so called “loophole” before then.
“I was shocked when I saw the results of what was happening,” Marsh said. “I want to get everyone’s attention, get it to the table and fix the problem.”
The way the bill is currently drafted, incentives will be suspended from October 1st of 2014 until October 1st, 2016 and locals say that would be detrimental to the Mobile film business.
“If you suspended for one day, they’re all going to leave. Other places have experienced that and I don’t think we want to,” said VICE Casting Director, Ron Goleman.
“I do not intend on eliminating the film incentives in the state,” Marsh said.
Senator Marsh says he’s working on the bill’s language and intends to have a proposal before the House next week.