In the past, I have discussed the benefits the Pennsylvania film tax credit has brought to our state, including the more than 16,300 direct jobs and over $739 million in wages. As the administration starts to draft a proposed 2013-14 budget in the coming months, now is the time to consider increasing the Pennsylvania film tax credit so that this very successful program can continue providing financial perks to companies to come to our state and invest in our economy.
Currently, the film tax credit offers directors and producers who film 60 percent of their production within Pennsylvania a 25 percent credit in taxes. For this fiscal year, $60 million is available and has helped fund eight featured films, one documentary, eight television episodes, two television series and one television pilot. However, many film companies express that the credit goes too quickly and many smaller film companies never get a slice of the pie. In fact, Pennsylvania often has to turn potential offers down because of the lack of funding for this program.
The Pennsylvania Film Office has recently said that Pennsylvania could host more productions in the Commonwealth if lawmakers made an increased, multiyear commitment to the tax credit program and have suggested the cap be set between $100 and $150 million for the upcoming fiscal year.
One of the stated reasons for a multiyear commitment is because television series are planned for several seasons and producers need assurance that a tax credit will be available for several years after they start shooting at a location. Furthermore, numerous surrounding states offer a film tax credit for multiple years with a much larger cap than what Pennsylvania is offering.
The film tax credit has a solid track record for returning the investment to our state and that is why I think we should explore an increase for the program. In order to continue competition with surrounding states, Pennsylvania must keep our tax credit offer attractive as well.
Senator Wayne D. Fontana
42nd Senatorial District