Well, we do and we don’t. Let me explain.
We actually have a program that provides a 20 percent rebate on all goods and services purchased in Idaho for productions that spend at least $200,000 here. The program also requires that 20 percent or more of the production’s crew must be Idaho residents.
But this program remains unfunded. And it will sunset in 2014 unless support in the Legislature is found.
Idaho business owners, take heed! Make your voices heard and show your support for this program. Here’s why. Many Idaho residents can be employed and outside dollars can be infused into the state’s economy by film productions if we have a funded film incentive program.
Think about it. A film production spends money everywhere. Restaurants, hotels, building supply companies, grocery stores, office supply stores, printing and copy houses, clothing stores, truck rentals, helicopter rentals, car rentals, dry cleaning services, office space rentals, caterers, location rentals, parking ramps, security services, coffee houses, thrift shops, hardware stores and more can receive production money.
My company’s feature film, “Three of a Kind,” spent many dollars all over Idaho during production. In fact, come see for yourself what can be done here. Our Idaho premier will be at the Egyptian Theatre on Oct. 13 with all net proceeds benefiting the Women’s and Children’s Alliance of Boise.
Peg Owens, Idaho’s film commissioner, says competition is stiff for film production dollars. The states that are most successful have crafted incentive legislation to attract them. As of April 26, 35 states offer funded film incentives.
Take Alabama. Its rebate program includes 25 percent for expenditures and 35 percent for hiring residents. Since 2009, when the Alabama film incentives legislation passed, there has been a significant increase in filming in the state. In 2011 alone, production companies spent approximately $22.5 million in Alabama, and more than $5.6 million was reimbursed through the incentives, according to the Alabama Film Office.
Louisiana offers a 30 percent tax credit on qualified direct production Louisiana expenditures. There is an additional 5 percent tax credit for payroll expenditures to Louisiana residents.
New Mexico continues to offer one of the most competitive incentives package in the industry. It includes a 25 percent refundable film production tax credit, the New Mexico Film Investment Loan Program and the Film Crew Advancement Program. Post-production services rendered in New Mexico also qualify for the 25 percent refundable tax credit even if the project is shot elsewhere.
In 2013, the chairs of the Idaho Legislature’s House and Senate Committees overseeing the film incentive program will be new. Once the new chairs are in place, conversations to fund the film incentive program can begin in earnest.
After the election, contact your lawmakers about the importance of having a funded film incentive for Idaho. Let’s add Idaho to the list of states that offer a viable film incentive program and help grow our economy.
Gregory Green is a writer/producer/director based in Boise. He has just completed an award-winning Idaho-made psychological thriller, “Three of a Kind.” The Idaho Premiere is October 13 at the Egyptian Theatre.