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Tax credits possible sfor Ohio-made flicks



Published: Fri, June 17, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The incentives are welcomed by a film official in Northeast Ohio.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- Those who make commercial films in Ohio would be granted tax credits against their personal income taxes under a bill introduced in the Ohio Senate this week.

Under the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Patricia Clancy, R-Cincinnati, filmmakers spending more than $8 million in Ohio to make a movie would receive a 20 percent credit against their state personal income taxes.

Filmmakers spending between $300,000 and $8 million on production would receive a 15 percent tax credit under the pending bill.

Travel boost

Tourism in the state could benefit, Clancy said, as some visitors choose vacation destinations based in part on movies they have seen.

"We're very hopeful," Clancy said of the possibility of the bill's passage. "It would be good for the state."

Among the movies that have been shot in Ohio are "Rain Man," "Teachers," "City of Hope," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Traffic" and "The Deer Hunter."

The bill is drawing praise from at least one film backer in the state.

Richard Ouzounian, film commissioner of the Western Reserve Film Commission in Northeast Ohio, said he believes the bill, if enacted, would help draw more movie makers to the Buckeye State.

"There's no doubt about it," Ouzounian said. "I'm hoping this bill goes through the Statehouse quickly so we can capitalize on it." The Western Reserve Film Commission covers Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Information on incentives, Ouzounian said, is among the first questions movie makers ask him when inquiring about potential filming locations.

"I'll say 98 percent of the time the question I get is: 'What's your incentive package?'" Ouzounian said. "Right now, there isn't one."

Not alone

Other states are talking about similar measures.

According to news reports, the North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a measure that would give tax credits and grants equal to 15 percent of what a production spends in North Carolina above $1 million. That state's Senate Finance Committee lowered that threshold to $250,000 to match a version expected to emerge in the House, according to news reports.

In Louisiana, a bill pending in that state's Senate would change existing law by boosting the percentage of state tax credits for film making but would apply them only to production activity in Louisiana, according to news reports. The pending Louisiana measure would also create a new credit for investors in film studios and other movie-making facilities built in Louisiana, news reports say.




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