Show Me the Money!
When will the Texas Texas' Moving Image Industry Incentive Program pay out?
By Richard Whittaker, 1:57PM, Fri. Apr. 11, 2008
Last session, there was much hooping and hollering around the Lege about the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive program, a tax-rebate fund meant to break the film industry talent drain out of the state. Ten months after House Bill 1634, which filled the fund, was signed into law there still hasn't been a check cut. But good news: on March 10, the Texas Film Commission had its rules for implementing the program adopted. Which at least means they can start assessing applications.
According to commission director Bob Hudgins, there's been 95 applications received:
72 commercials (44 made in Dallas, 15 Austin, seven Houston, three San Antonio, and three elsewhere)
13 film and TV projects (including Friday Night Lights and Prison Break)
10 video games That's $110 million in eligible production spending in Texas. If everything goes through the audit process, this means $6 million in rebate of the $22 million in the pot for the biennium. Of course, since the program is a refund on money spent by eligible projects, that revenue for Texas is secure. But there has to be a concern that, if the comptroller doesn't OK all the applications, producers may be twice shy about coming back to the Lone Star State.
In conversation with Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the author of HB-1634, she's waiting to see what the final audited figures look like before making any further decisions putting more money into the program (Dukes’ official House biography says her bill "created the Texas Film Incentive program." It was actually created in 2005 by Senate Bill 1142, authored by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas. Dukes’ 2007 bill, and the attached budget rider, put money into the previously unfunded program, and extended it to include TV and advert production.)