Oregon increases tax subsidies for Hollywood

ACTION: Oregon increases film subsidies by $4 million

ACTION: Oregon increases film subsidies by $4 million

By Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog

The film industry in Oregon will get an additional $4 million in tax credits thanks to Oregon’s elected officials.

The Oregon Legislature has passed a budget bill that includes an increase in the film subsidies from $6 million to $10 million. The House concurred with Senate amendments to the tax credit bill, House Bill 3367, on Monday by a vote of 50-9. Gov. John Kitzhaber supports more subsidies for the industry and had wanted it to be doubled, for a total of $12 million.

Proponents say it will bring more filming to Oregon and thus more jobs. But critics argue it’s just more of your money in Hollywood’s pocket that could go to other needs in the state. Opponents expressed frustration that the income tax credit bill included assistance for the film industry but not spending for earned income tax credits for the poor. The funding for Hollywood also appeared dead but came back to life after film lobbyists insisted the tax credits are needed to keep jobs.

The state saw a 13 percent increase in film industry jobs from 2009 to 2011, growth driven in part by tax incentives, according to a study conducted by the Northwest Economic Research Center of Portland State University.

The incentive program already doles out a hefty chunk of change, about $2.2 million to “Grimm” in August, for example.

Oregon’s incentive program gives cash rebates to companies based on how much they spend here. For every dollar production companies spend on goods and services, producers get back 20 cents. For every dollar spent on wages to local or out-of-state workers companies receive 10 cents.

Money to fund the incentives comes from income tax credits auctioned off by the state.

The legislature is winding down with the expectation to adjourn today or tomorrow.

Contact Shelby Sebens at Shelby@NorthwestWatchdog.org

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