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Lights, Camera -- Tax Breaks!

By Suzanne Robitaille

Many states are feeling the economic shock. In Texas, for example, entertainment production fell to $140 million last year, vs. $295 million in 2000. Only four feature films were produced in Texas in 2002, the lowest figure in 10 years. Other states are still compiling 2002 data, but North Carolina's 2001 revenues of $250 million were flat vs. its 2000 intake, and the number of major projects shot in the state dropped from 81 to 44. New York City estimates that feature-film expenditures fell to $678 million in 2001, from $839 million in 1999. In total, the impact of film and television runaway production on the U.S. is around $10 billion a year, according to a 1999 report commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America.

Some states are pushing hard for more tax relief and rebates to dangle before filmmakers. The Oklahoma legislature has passed a "Compete with Canada" act that provides a 15% cash-back incentive on film-production spending in the state. Minnesota, Lou

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