3:00 PM EDT, April 10, 2014
The letter that Media Rights Capital wrote to the House of Delegates some months ago threatening to leave this area should sufficient incentives not become available was surely seen by our legislators as an attempt at strong-arming. As a result, the House on its last night of business left $3.5 million off the proposed $18.5 million allotted for subsidies for film and TV productions made in Maryland by the Senate ("Tax breaks for 'House of Cards' fall short," April 8).
Will "House of Cards" leave? We do not know yet, but if they do, it would signal the end of film production in Maryland for some time to come. Production companies will not want to come to a place where they have no financial consistency from the state. Why? I heard one of our representatives say that she did not feel that Maryland taxpayers should support Hollywood fat cats. That is not who gets helped by these incentives. Media Rights Capital will film a third season no matter where they do it. Those hurt by the delegates' action are the hundreds of people like myself who make their living crewing these shows and the hundreds of vendors, hotels, etc. that make some income as a result of this production.
Right now, film production goes to any area that offers the biggest incentive to bring business to that state. Other businesses get tax incentives in Maryland like cyber security and bio-tech. It is my understanding that other states like Georgia are courting this production. They are offering to pay for the move and tax incentives. Others obviously see the benefit of productions in their area. What's it worth for our state to hear Kevin Spacey talking to Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert about how much he enjoys working in this area? To take film production out of Maryland would not only cost us a well-paid, skilled work force and jobs but we would also be going a long way in taking our area out of the public discussion of great places to visit.
Charles Maloy, Baltimore
The writer is a member of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 487-
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