The amount of West Virginia tax credit for movies filmed in West Virginia would be cut in half under a bill from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin that’s moving through the legislature.
The Film Industry Investment Act now allows the West Virginia Film Office to hand out up to $10 million a year in tax credits, Tomblin’s bill would cut that to $5 million in any given year. The governor’s office says the act has never brought in more than $5 million since it was created a few years ago.
“I think that what we’ve seen is in a year when there’s a big production that’s the year we see 3-point-9 (million dollars in tax credits), in other years, it hasn’t been close to that,” state Tax Dept. Managing Attorney Matt Irby told members of the House Finance Committee this week.
Some committee members tried to reduce the credit even further, but Cabell County Del. Kevin Craig argued its important to keep it in place.
“Each year this legislature may come back and just monkey around with the number and low and behold one day we may just take it to zero. So if I’m planning a film, which doesn’t happen overnight, where is the stability in the program if we are constantly changing it?” Craig asked.
The delegate added more of the “We Are Marshall” movie would have been filmed in Huntington if the tax credit had been around back then.
The controversial MTV reality show “Buckwild” did not receive a tax credit from the Film Office.
The governor’s bill passed the committee and is now on schedule to pass the House by the end of the week.