State looks at ways to reform film tax credit program, retain once-booming industry

Posted on: July 5 2016

More changes are likely coming to Louisiana’s controversial film tax credit program in the coming year.

But it’s not just about money this time. Gov. John Bel Edwards, who announced Tuesday the launch of a full-scale review of the Motion Picture Production Tax Credit program, said his goal is to strengthen the movie industry here and chart out a long-term plan for an incentive program that better serves the state.

“Louisiana’s film industry has my full support,” Edwards said in a statement. “We remain open for business with one of the most attractive incentive programs in the world. We will honor our commitments. Louisiana will drive this process to create a smarter, sustainable model for the future. We will establish a modern, effective program that encourages companies to establish roots in our state.”

The generous incentives offered to the film and television industry in Louisiana have frequently been called into question as the state rolled through a series of annual budget crises that threatened its ability to provide critical services, including health care and higher education.

The Legislature, looking to rein in the tax credit program’s ballooning costs in 2015 amid questions over its value and a looming budget shortfall, approved a $180 million yearly cap on credits for the next three years.