“The Film and Television Production Incentive program has made Massachusetts a leading filmmaking destination that supports thousands of local families.”
Big news for the local film industry and those who work in the movies around here. After much back-and-forth, state lawmakers decided to make permanent significant incentives for producers and the like to make their projects here in the Bay State. As the State House News Service reported last week:
Leaders for the two branches came to an agreement that would permanently extend the state’s tax credit for film production in Massachusetts, which supporters have defended as a job creator but critics have derided as too expensive.
The compromise plan calls for the January 2023 sunset of the tax credit to be cancelled, but would increase the eligibility threshold for a production company by requiring at least 75 percent of its filming budget to be spent or at least 75 percent of principal photography days to take place in Massachusetts.
The House had voted to simply eliminate the tax credit’s expiration date, while the Senate proposed a four-year extension tied to an increase in the minimum number of filming days from 50 percent, a cap on eligible salaries at $1 million, and a ban on the transfer of credit.
The salary cap and transferability ban were not included in the final compromise.
While plenty of Hollywood studios as well as independents have continued to use Mass sets for the past several years, in many cases taking advantage of the tax credits available, the possibility of losing those incentives has reportedly kept some from shooting here. So now with that situation taken care of once and for all, we should see a lot more celebs in the streets.
And let’s not forget the innumerable people behind the scenes who make a living in the industry, and who can now hopefully travel a lot less for work as gigs migrate here. (If you missed it, check out Dig reporter Hannah Green’s feature on local actor Liz Eng, who was considering the axing of the film incentive at the time and said, “It’s like a faucet … They’re starting to turn the water off, and you can start to see the pressure.”
With the faucet back on, Eng and others are likely “breathing a sigh of relief,” as a recent media release from the Massachusetts Production Coalition put it. The worker alliance includes members from: production and post production companies; educational and professional organizations; craft and talent unions; equipment, facility, and service providers; and members of allied industries and professions that are engaged in or related to the production of visual media. They wrote that the move will “help to preserve thousands of local jobs and economic opportunities for working families and small businesses across the Commonwealth.” The release continued:
“We applaud the Governor’s decision to sign the 2022 state budget as unanimously passed by the House and Senate. This budget makes the film production incentive program permanent, ensuring that thousands of families and small businesses that depend on the growing film and television industry can continue to live and work in Massachusetts.
“The production tax credit has successfully created a vibrant film industry in Massachusetts that is recognized as one of the best in the world. Massachusetts is now positioned to capture a major portion of the jobs and revenue created by the new productions planned in the post-pandemic entertainment industry.”
“The Film and Television Production Incentive program has made Massachusetts a leading filmmaking destination that supports thousands of local families with good-paying jobs and generates millions of dollars in spending to local businesses. Since the program was created in 2006, over 270 productions have filmed in over 225 cities and towns, together spending more than $2.8 billion in Massachusetts. Productions have bought goods and services from thousands of local businesses in over 265 cities and towns – over 75% of all communities in Massachusetts.
“Massachusetts is poised and ready to capture the growing streaming TV industry that will bring even more good-paying jobs to Massachusetts for years to come. We are now attracting multi-year episodic television series, which employ more local workers, use more local businesses, and are the engine of growth for our local film industry. An economic impact study of Season 1 of Hulu’s Castle Rock, the first episodic TV series to film in Massachusetts in over 25 years, found that the production created 1,026 jobs in Massachusetts and generated $69 million in economic activity across more than 210 towns and cities in the state. That’s $4.73 of economic activity in the state for each $1.00 of state tax credit anticipated to be issued to the production.”