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Film tax credits on stage again in Annapolis

Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat, has introduced legislation to extend Maryland's controversial film tax credits for three more years.
Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat, has introduced legislation to extend Maryland's controversial film tax credits for three more years. (Karl Merton Ferron)

Some lawmakers in Annapolis are pushing to continue giving tax credits to television and film productions in Maryland, a year after the issue sparked intense controversy in the General Assembly.

Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, a Howard County Democrat who's chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation committee, introduced a bill this week that would extend the tax break three more years, to 2019, and authorize the state to pay production companies up to $25 million in all over that period. A House committee is scheduled to hear an identical bill next week.

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Kasemeyer led an unsuccessful effort last year to give makers of the hit Netflix show "House of Cards" $15 million in tax credits after its producers threatened to stop filming the political drama series in Maryland. House members, angered by the threat, balked in the final moments of the 90-day session.

Since then, a Department of Legislative Services report has found the state doesn't get as much back in tax revenue as it gives out to the productions. And Gov. Larry Hogan, who's suggested the state can't afford such largesse, has proposed no new money and wants to trim the remaining $7.5 million in credits for the coming year.

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Kasemeyer acknowledged that $25 million more may be too much, but said he disagreed with the analysts' criticism. He contended that film and TV productions subsidized by the credits give work and income to many people and businesses across the state.

"It's a no-brainer to me," he said.

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