As the General Assembly considers hiking Maryland's film tax credit, a lobbyist has invited lawmakers to Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis on Friday night to schmooze with the star of "House of Cards."
Gerard E. Evans, one of Annapolis' highest paid lobbyists who represents the Netflix television series, invited members of the General Assembly to the wine bar for a meet-and-greet with actor Kevin Spacey. The party is by invite-only.
Spacey's appearance comes as Media Rights Capital, the California-based production company behind "House of Cards," is threatening to pick up its cameras and leave the Maryland.
Charlie Goldstein, the senior vice president of television production for Media Rights Capital, sent a letter to assembly leaders in February explaining the show had pushed back its filming schedule for its third season to see if lawmakers would boost the tax credits.
"In the event that sufficient incentives do not become available, that gives us time to break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state," Goldstein said in a letter to House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis.
The Senate voted earlier this week to increase the amount the state can spend on its tax credit pool for movie and television production companies from $7.5 million to $18.5 million. In 2013, the General Assembly hiked the allocation from $7.5 million to $25 million.
But the House of Delegates has yet to act on the Senate's bill. The legislation is held up in the House Ways and Means Committee.
It's unclear whether the House will vote to increase the amount of money available in the tax credit pool. It's also unclear how much is enough for "House of Cards" to stay in Maryland.
The Department of Business and Economic Development, which administers the tax credits, from 2012 to 2016 has dedicated almost all of $55 million to "House of Cards" and "Veep," an HBO series starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The first two seasons of "House of Cards"were filmed in Maryland, including at the State House in Annapolis.
Eonomic development officials say "House of Cards" has injected more than $250 million into the state economy. But economic analyses of film production tax credits conclude that "only a portion of tax credits provided to film productions is recaptured in State and local tax revenues," according to the Department of Legislative Services.
The Washington Post first reported Stacey's appearance.
Several lawmakers confirmed Thursday morning they received the invite.
For many Anne Arundel County lawmakers, if they decide to attend the event Friday, it won't be the first time they've met Spacey.
In June, an open casting call was held in west Annapolis and about 80 Anne Arundel County residents participated, including Busch's wife was cast as an extra.
Spacey is often spotted in Annapolis when "House of Cards" is filming in the state.
"I meet with him each year," said Del. Ron George, R-Arnold.
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