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New Version of Flim Tax Credit Bill Better Serves Alaska (SB 23)

Subcommittee’s SB 23 brings focus back on benefits to Alaska, not Hollywood

Friday, April 13, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – The House Finance Subcommittee assigned to take an in-depth look into a Senate plan to extend the Alaska Film Tax Credit program today debuted its version, which strengthens the program and puts the focus back on benefits to Alaskan workers and businesses.

“This program is popular and a good way to help diversify our economy, but the facts and history showed that too much of the benefit went Outside. Our approach better serves Alaskans while bringing in better control and accountability for delivering on its promise to spur new industry and investment,” Finance Subcommittee Chair Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, said. “Alaskans said they support this program, but not at the cost of public dollars paying out-of-state star salaries and we listened. Our plan incentivizes putting more Alaskans on the payroll and in front of the camera.”

The subcommittee’s version keeps the 10-year re-authorization of the program in place, along with the increase in funding to $200 million, and the 30-percent “below the line” non-resident base credit on things behind the scenes and related to production. It also makes significant improvements to the program, including:

-      Doubling the Alaska Hire credit to 20-percent

-      Tripling the credit for work done in Rural Alaska to six percent

-      Sharply decreases the “above the line” actor, writer and director credit from 30-percent down to five percent, but also allowing for productions to recoup 50-percent of Alaska worker expenses and another 50-percent recoupment on expenses paid to qualified Alaska businesses

-      Adds a first-come, first-serve additional six percent credit for a scripted, 16-episode television series

-      Levels the playing field by applying all credits to all productions, getting rid of the preference on feature films

-      Strengthens the accountability and transparency of the program with additional reporting requirements carried within section 10 of the bill on numbers of applications received and approved, credits applied for and given, all expenditures, number of residents and non-residents employed, third party credit sellers, and information on the buyers and certificates issued.

Additionally, the new SB 23 moves the administration of the program to the Department of Revenue, and installs a four-member board to approve – by majority vote – applications. The board would be made up of the commissioners of the departments of revenue, commerce, natural resources, and labor. The Dept. of Commerce would still promote the program.

“I want to commend subcommittee members Reps. Costello, Fairclough and Guttenberg for their diligent work on this legislation,” House Finance Co-chair Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak/Mat-Su, said.

The new House Finance Committee CS for SB 23 was adopted by the committee earlier tonight and awaits further debate.

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