xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Film tax credit expected to get $18.5 million; House committee vote expected Friday

A House committee is expected to vote for a plan Friday to tap three sources to provide $18.5 million for Maryland's film tax credit in fiscal 2015.

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on a measure to increase the film tax credit allocation from $7.5 million after a 3 p.m. hearing on Friday.

The Senate has passed a bill to fund $18.5 million for the film tax credit out of the general fund alone.

But a budget conference committee on Thursday agreed $7.5 million could be drawn from the state's Sunny Day Fund and Cultural Arts Fund to fund the increase.

If the full House of Delegates accepts the Ways and Means Committee's expected proposal, the measure will have to also be approved by the Senate before the end of the General Assembly's 90-day session on Monday.

The measure's passage will resolve an issue lawmakers have been trying to resolve for months, responding from the production company that films the Netflix television series "House of Cards."

Just $7.5 million was set aside for the film tax credit at the start of the 2014 session.

The "House of Cards" series is already on track to be granted $30 million in tax credits through fiscal 2016, according to the state. But an executive at the show's production company wrote legislative leaders in February to inform them the show would consider leaving Maryland if the money didn't keep flowing.

Charlie Goldstein, senior vice president of television production for Media Rights Capital, wrote legislative leaders in February to say that the show had pushed back its filming schedule for its third season to see if lawmakers would boost 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 wrote to House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis.

In March, "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey socialized with lawmakers at Red Red Wine Bar in Annapolis as they considered whether to hike the amount Maryland would hand out in fiscal 2015.

As lawmakers considered a bill in the House, an amendment was added to a companion bill to the budget to allow Maryland to seize property of a production company that has received more than $10 million in tax credits and decides to cease film production activity in the state.

But Thursday, the budget conference committee struck that language.

The amendment's sponsor, Del. Bill Frick, D-Montgomery, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, said Friday he was turning his attention away from the amendment's failure.

"I don't think we need to be playing chicken with the state budget," Frick said.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement