Stern seeks to bolster Pennsylvania tourism industry through legislative initiatives

In a victory for the state's tourism industry, Pennsylvania's House of Representatives recently passed legislation introduced by State Rep. Jerry Stern (R-80) aimed at encouraging additional filming projects in the state, boosting revenue and spurring job creation.

"Tourism is a huge revenue generator and job provider; however, we could be reaping even greater rewards from the industry if we put more of our resources into promoting and supporting the industry," Stern said. "There is a great deal of untapped potential within the industry. Why not support and grow an already established and reliable funding source for the state? If we dedicate additional funding for advertising outside the state and put our film tax credits to better use, we can increase revenue coming in to the state and put more people to work."

According to Stern, the chairman of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, tourism generates approximately $40 billion annually in the state and supports more than 471,000 jobs. He has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at bolstering the industry.

H.B. 2083, which is currently headed to the state Senate for consideration, would allow the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to issue approximately $22 million in unused film tax credits from previous years. Another bill - H.B. 1215, also headed for the Senate - would establish an 11-member Pennsylvania Tourism Commission made up of marketing professionals to serve as the state's chief tourism marketing agency.

Additionally, H.B. 1215 would implement a $15 million tax credit to fund the state's marketing efforts. Taxpayers could be eligible to receive a tax credit for contributions to the state marketing agency.