Take Two

  • Take 2: July 2017

    Massachusetts Film Tax Credits Remain Strong….

    The industry has much to be grateful for. Our Massachusetts Film Tax Credits are intact. Except for the support of key elected legislators, we could have been devastated. Save for industry members who believe in what we are doing, we could be in Hollywood’s rear view mirror.

    The Commonwealth is having its best year ever of visiting studio and major productions working in this state. We have a ten-episode series shooting in New England Studios. Hollywood has once again taken notice. Future films will consider coming to Massachusetts. Another series is on its way.

    Quincy Chamber of Commerce President Tim
    Cahill (center), with Quincy elected officials Representative Bruce Ayers, Representative
    Tacky Chan (a SAG-AFTRA member), House Majority Leader Ron Mariano and Senator John Keenan. The whole delegation supports
    film tax credits. An IMAGINE photo.

    Carol Patton met with Senator Sal DiDomenico
    during the Committee of Conference in behalf of our industry. An IMAGINE photo.
    This legislative season has been an entirely new experience for the Commonwealth’s Film and Television industry. For the past two years, Governor Baker first included the elimination of our Film Tax Credits and last year he attempted to modify them. This year the industry was completely left out of his budget and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

    House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Carol Patton
    after the Conference Committee reconciliation
    of the House and Senate Budgets that worked out well for our industry. An IMAGINE photo.

    Governor Baker is known to have said that he tried it twice and it’s apparent to him that Film Tax Credits are the will of the legislature (well, certainly the House of Representatives as that is where tax policy is constitutionally vested first) and the citizens of the Commonwealth.

    But, then, the somewhat unexpected happened. We suspected that there would be amendments from the Senate. We didn’t know they would pass.

    Don Packer, Engine Room co-owner and senior editor and past President of MPC,
    talking to industry supporters Massachusetts’
    Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante
    (Gloucester, Rockport and Essex) after the Committee of Conference reconciled in our industry’s favor. An IMAGINE Photo.
    Members’ complaints included that the state paid GHOSTBUSTERS 2 over $25 million dollars. Few recalled, however, that that meant Columbia Pictures spent over $100 million in the Commonwealth, built a giant set in Weymouth (which they left behind), and enriched thirteen other locations around the state. Think of it, a $100 million infusion into the state’s economy! Blockbusters of this ilk are attracted to Massachusetts because of our 25% above the line Film Tax Credit.

    Senator Michael Rodrigues from Westport, who represents Fall River, MA, filed an amendment that would damage our industry’s ability to attract big budgeted films. Taking the “attractive” out of our “attractive film incentives” program. Essentially, large budgeted movies would be deterred from coming to Massachusetts and very few productions could meet the 75% of budget requirement or the cap on salaries in this global climate.

    The Senate voted for the amendment to be included in the Senate budget. Twenty-three Senators of the thirty-eight possible (2 open seats) stood against us! Nine Senators stood for us. And we’re grateful for them.

    It’s important at this time that we extend our appreciation and gratitude for those who stood with us in the Senate. The vote was a sneaky one. They counted in a rare standing vote without naming Senators who stood against us.