Feds Insert Film 'Pork"; Louisiana Pushes Pricey Incentives 'Button'

Louisiana is pushing an expensive incentives 'Button.'
Louisiana is pushing an expensive incentives 'Button.'

Film incentives are rightfully the buzz around Texas right now with the next session of the Legislature just around the corner. But they're also getting some national attention, including as a "pork" addition to the government bailout of the mortgage biz.

It seems a national fix for film incentives, primarily aimed at equalizing the playing field with Canada, made it into the bill's language: According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, it will "extend and modify temporary expensing rules (they were to expire at the end of this year) that are meant to discourage the flight of TV and film production to Canada and elsewhere by expanding the number and type of deductions that can be taken in the year of production.

"The expanded deductions are capped at $15 million in costs per production, and include the cost of paying actors producers, directors and production personnel. Currently, the deduction to spur domestic production generally is calculated based on wages of permanent, full-time employees, while TV and film production often relies on short-term workers.

"Studios would also now get deductions for TV shows broadcast over the Internet and other delivery platforms. "The methods and means of distributing a qualified film shall not affect the availability of the deduction under this section," says the provision in the bailout bill. They can also deduct income from the licensing of copyrights and trademarks."

Meanwhile, The New York Times chimed in Sunday on the true cost of film incentives, including $27 million in payoffs for the upcoming Brad Pitt film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Yikes!

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