Those who successfully sought to cap the Louisiana Film Tax Incentive program at $180 million per production often argued that the benefits of the program to the state’s economy were too vague.
And actually, it was a sentiment put forward by opponents of the cap as well.
“Several Louisiana senators came to us and said, ‘if we’re going to be able to help you in dealing with the caps on the tax credit, we need some hard numbers,’” said Dawn Arevalo, compliance auditor for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local #478.
So Local 478 listened, and they’ve put out a survey for business owners across the state to help paint a concrete picture of the film industry’s impact on Louisiana.
And not just the impact on big businesses or those in New Orleans, Arevalo said. “We’ve had some really great success stories from different businesses about how the film industry has come into a small town and their business thrives,” she said. “Some of them are paint companies, we have a Laundromat up in Jackson, Louisiana that bought all new washers and driers because we were in there on an almost daily basis.”
Arevalo said IATSE hopes businesses will fill out the survey by December 20th “so we can do our calculations, compile the information and be ready for a special session in January.” (The Governor has to call a special session and cannot do so until he takes office.)
“We’re not saying we’re not trying to push that the caps should be removed,” said Arevalo, “but we are pushing for them to move the cap.”
Currently, the cap is on the back end, which is creating a lot of uncertainty, Arevalo said. “With the cap on the back end, the cap is on the number of credits that can be claimed in a year. They could issue $300 million in credits, but only the first $180 million would get paid by the state until a rollover process was worked out. With the cap being on the back, it is almost like the state has written a NSF check.”
Moving the cap to the front, Arevalo said, “ensures the credits that are issued are good to be claimed and will be paid.”
For more information on the Louisiana Film Tax Incentive program, check out Kate Richardson’s feature from WWNO.