Gov. Deval Patrick won’t cut films’ tax credit

By Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald
October 28, 2009

The state will keep its new film-industry tax credit even as the Patrick administration eyes tightening other tax laws to raise money for the cash-strapped state.

Greg Bialecki, Gov. Deval Patrick’s secretary of housing and economic development, said the film tax credit is one of many tax exemptions, deductions and incentives that the administration is now eyeing for possible changes as the state grapples with a $600 million budget deficit.

Bialecki said the governor thought it was only fair that the state looks at tightening tax laws while also moving toward major cuts in state spending. He declined to mention which tax laws the administration is now reviewing.

But he indicated eliminating the film tax credit is off the table, though it may face some adjustments. “No, we’re not going to eliminate it,” he said, noting that some have estimated the credit has created thousands of jobs.

Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Bob Deleo yesterday signaled strong support for the film tax credit, despite criticism that it’s costing the state more than $100 million a year.

Murray, speaking at Patrick’s economic summit yesterday in downtown Boston, said the credit has brought scores of movie productions to Massachusetts over the past few years – and it’s on the verge of paying huge dividends if new studios are built here.

DeLeo said the House is currently reviewing the tax credit, which reimburses movie producers with 25 percent of their wages and expenditures while filming in Massachusetts. The Department of Revenue recently reported the state paid out about $113 million in credits last year, based on $452 million in film expenditures here.

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