Pennsylvania to issue unused film tax credits to bring projects to state

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 180-21 on May 6 to approve legislation aimed at encouraging job creation and boosting revenue by bringing new filming projects to the state.

H.B. 2083, which was introduced by State Rep. Jerry Stern (R-80), would authorize the state's Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to use approximately $22.5 million in unused film tax credits from prior years to attract the film industry.

"The film industry in Pennsylvania continues to grow as more and more industry insiders learn of the great variety of filming locations we offer and the capable workforce we have to meet filming demands," Stern, the chairman of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, said. "However, another big motivating factor for entertainment companies to shoot in Pennsylvania is the availability of film tax credits, which is why I think we need to capitalize on this and use those credits that are sitting dormant from years past."

The state is authorized under the Film Tax Credit Program to issue tax credits equal to 25 percent of production costs, such as construction, photography, lighting, visual effects and wardrobe, for projects if at least 60 percent of the film's budget will be used for expenses within the state.

The program, which was signed into law by former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell in 2004, caps the amount of tax credits at $60 million each year. Though Stern's legislation would not raise the cap, it would extend credits that were never awarded from previous years. DCED does not currently have the authority to access the past credits unless they are used in the same fiscal year.

According to Stern, the program has awarded $367 million in credits and has supported 19,000 jobs, spurring approximately $2.7 billion in economic activity.

"With interest in filming in Pennsylvania growing, we don't want to miss out on any potential job opportunities or revenue coming to the state when we have unused tax credits that could be used to entice a film company or television show to set up filming in the Commonwealth," Stern said. "This program has a proven history of success and I am pleased my colleagues in the House also see the potential for greater growth of the industry through my legislation."