America is in danger of losing a critical part of it's culture: Independent Film. All throughout this year I have heard one producer or director after another complain they can no longer afford to stay in the business. I know I too feel this on a regular basis. Yet, here in New York, I have seen the crafts and support elements run at close to full employment. Why? The New York State Tax Credits keep television and other productions going at a steady pace. There is no question that effective tax policy can also be job stimulus.
Without any policy for funding of the arts in America,it is critical that we incentive potential investors to consider backing the arts. It was great to hear (via Entertainment Partners' Film Incentive Services) that there is a movement afoot to reinstate Fed 181. They pointed out:
Congressmen Howard Berman and David Drier co-sponsored a bill (HR 5793) to extend the federal film incentive program aimed at keeping film production in the U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 181 expired at the end of last year. The current proposal would extend the election to treat film costs as an immediate deduction rather than a capital expense. To qualify, productions must spend ≥ 75% of the compensation on services performed in the U.S.
The Hollywood Reporter points out the many benefits for the country at large.
"Berman and Drier point out that runaway foreign production has become a national issue. With production of movies and TV programs now occurring throughout the United States, this industry creates well-paying jobs and generates tangible economic benefits to cities and states nationwide. A typical motion picture employs 350-500 people. Production jobs have an average salary that is 73 percent higher than the current nationwide average. A major motion picture shooting on location contributes $225,000 on average every day to the local economy, so it is no surprise that it is seen as a critical engine of economic development in many places across the country. Thus, the lawmakers argue, extension of the tax not only will help to promote well-paying film industry jobs but will have a ripple effect across broad sectors of the economy by generating revenue and employment opportunities for a wide range of local businesses, such as caterers, dry cleaners, lodging, equipment rental facilities, transportation vendors and many others."
If you live in the States, and work in the arts, the least you can do is call your representatives and urge them to support the bill, HR 5793.