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Film tax credits focus on rural Georgia

BY JILL NOUN

jill.nolin@gaflnews.com

ATLANTA — State lawmakers want to send more film work to the rural corners of the state.

A measure expanding tax credits for the film industry sweetens a new perk for post-production work, awarding an additional tax break for work done in the state’s poorer and less developed counties. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law this week.

“We’re trying to incentivize people to move out of Atlanta and into rural Georgia,” Rep. Trey Rhodes, R-Greensboro, who sponsored the bill, said in an interview.

Companies can receive a 5 percent tax break for post-production work such as film editing - done in Valdosta, Milledgeville and dozens of other communities deemed eligible.

All said, the companies could receive as much as a 35 percent break, which is more than the 30 percent in tax credits offered for film projects shot here. The state’s tax credit program is often credited with establishing and growing the film industry in Georgia, which has a $7 billion economic impact. But Rhodes said the state has been missing out on post-production work, which doesn’t currently qualify for the incentives.

“If they’re filming here, why not let’s make it easy for them to stay here and just complete the full circle here at home,” he said.

Under his plan, tax credits for video games created here will also get a boost.

Proponents for broadening the tax credits argued that the changes will keep Georgia competitive with other states. “Sometimes you might have to give a little in the beginning to gain long term,” Rhodes said.

Other legislators frowned on that lost revenue, though. The cost to the state could be $82.5 million during the next five years,

See Tax on 7A

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