A Senate-approved bill seeks to revamp the state’s film tax credit program. The proposal by New Orleans Senator JP Morell would place a $180 million front-end cap on the program for the next three years and then the cap goes down to $150 million. He says if the legislature chooses not to renew the program, it would go away.
“If this bill does not pass, the cap falls off of this program. Two, this program is currently not sunsetted, I sunset it,” Morrell said.
Some lawmakers have been hesitant about the return on investment from the program, including Metairie Senator Conrad Appel. He says the state can’t afford to fund TOPS, and we shouldn’t give away millions of dollars to the film industry.
“For every dollar we contribute to having people from Hollywood come here, we lose 78 cents on that dollar,” Appel said.
Morell seeks to ease some of those concerns by sun setting the program after 8 years, if no action is taken.
“As a program if we do nothing else, if it is unable to prove that its ROI is beneficial to the state, there is now a process where the program will no longer exist,” Morrell said.
The bill would also ensure that 10 percent of the available credits are reserved for local Louisiana filmmakers. The measure was approved on a 33 to 3 vote and heads to House Ways and Mean.