Hollywood South Calling ‘Cut’?
Is this the beginning of the end of Hollywood South?
Big budget movies coming to Louisiana became such a constant thing that they had to give it a name...Hollywood South. This was all due to the tax credit program that Louisiana put into place.
With the current state of Louisiana's economy, the tax credit program has been called into question. Last summer a cap of $180 million was put on the credits. It also suspended the ability to sell 85 percent of the value of tax credits to the state. This created a an issue with studios who have new productions, because they may not be able to secure the benefit for years.
According to Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, this has caused a drop-off in movies coming to film in Louisiana.
Before the cap, there were 12,600 jobs in Louisiana connected to the movie industry with the payroll exceeding $!88 million a year.
"Interest (in Louisiana) has dropped 90 percent," said Herbert Gains of Big Easy Studios in New Orleans.
"Before now I might have five or six people from the industry come by my shop five times a week," said Brian Gray, who transformed Timeline Antiques in Shreveport from a traditional shop to a movie prop supplier. "But I haven't seen anybody from the industry since the end of March."
A quarter of Gray's business was generated through the film industry.
This didn't cause the senators to move, though. They brought up a study that shows that there's a 23 percent return on the state's investment...and that just wasn't enough.
"We're having trouble educating our children and health care is lagging, so how can we look at something that doesn't have a positive return on investment?" said Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia.
"We don't have the money to do this," said Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria. "We can't keep giving this money away."