Is Runaway Film Production Fleeing Georgia?

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With Georgia’s film industry generating $9.5 billion in the last year alone, Georgians fear that New Jersey’s recent introduction of an even more lavish tax incentive for film may pose competition and rivalry for the Peach State.

Georgia’s film industry grew to new heights with the introduction of a massive tax incentive in the early 2000’s. In 2008, that incentive was further expanded on. By 2016, Georgia became the largest production place in the United States for feature films.

Companies have flocked from the most eminent production hubs such as California and New York to the state of Georgia to take advantage of the tax credit, thus bringing about 28,656 new jobs in film and television, according to The Motion Picture Association of America.

Georgia offers filmmakers 30 percent of their total production costs back in tax credit. Alarming to the state is New Jersey’s recent passing of the same tax credit at a higher percentage rate of 35.

“New Jersey recently passed tax credits for film and TV production companies that are even more generous than those in Georgia,” said Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Unlike Georgia’s unlimited savings without a cap, however, New Jersey’s tax credit is capped at $75 million a year over five years.

Many people are worried that film production in Georgia will soon decline due to more competitive savings, but others believe the impact will be nominal.

Ric Reitz, an original craftsman of the 2008 Georgia tax credits, said, according to Ho, “it might hurt New York more since it’s New Jersey’s geographic neighbor.”

One major television show, “Good Girls”, has already left Georgia for a more lucrative tax incentive offered in California. Amy Lemisch, the executive director of California Film Commission, said in a statement, “We’re bringing long-term, high-quality jobs in-state as we reaffirm our commitment to fighting runaway production.”

Stay tuned throughout the year for more updates as we track how the film production in Georgia will be affected by its new competition.