A tax incentive directly influences job creation. By encouraging productions to either STAY in Indiana or COME to Indiana, we will provide opportunities for our workforce in the film and media production industry. EXAMPLE: A standard sized television commercial production company employs about (40) people for an average of (2) days. This amounts to 80 days of employment for the workforce. If (2) productions each month are brought into Indiana for just television commercial production only, 1,920 days of employment will be the average result.
Indiana is a beautiful place for media production. The abundance and diversity of our natural landscape is a significant selling point. Points of interest (West Badin, Brown County, or any of the quarries) and the urban landscapes of our cities, the state of Indiana is an attractive location to choose for media production. This highlights our state to out-of-state workers who participate in the production and those who see the result. Films and commercial media shot here create positive publicity for Indiana. This has been proven to encourage tourism in our state.
There are a number of healthy and profitable media production companies in Indiana—mostly found in the larger cities of Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, South Bend and Evansville. Losing media productions to other states due to tax incentives, however, is preventing growth. By providing a tax incentive the state of Indiana will provide growth in the base of media production which will help make these companies more sustainable and encourage growth. New companies will also take root and expand our capacity for media production.
TELLING MIDWESTERN STORIES
We have talented filmmakers in Indiana who have great stories to tell and the desire to tell them here. Tax credits in other states, however, often lead to a decision to take a production outside of the state. A tax credit will assure that Indiana stories will be filmed here and help Indiana filmmakers showcase the state they love. Indiana can also be a great stand-in for many Midwestern states, from the cornfields of Iowa to the shores of Lake Michigan. We have the natural beauty to attract productions from outside the state to tell a Midwestern story.
STIMULATING THE ECONOMY
A tax incentive will strengthen our existing production companies by providing a more sustainable economic base. It will also attract outside companies to film within the state, using in-state labor and purchase of goods. It has been reported in other states that as these production companies generate locally-based spending, and every $1 credited can represent compound economic activity for our state.
WE ARE BEHIND OTHER STATES
Indiana’s surrounding states except for Michigan provide tax incentives for film and media production. Indiana is not being competitive and losing potential revenue and jobs because of it. There are currently more than 35 states offering some type of tax incentive to attract and support this industry—but Indiana is not. We believe the assets of our landscape and cities are more than competitive in attracting media production. We also have a skilled workforce in the media production field. This alone, however, will not overcome the lack of tax incentives.
KEEPING MARKETING DOLLARS IN INDIANA
By instituting a tax credit, the state is providing an incentive to Indiana corporations to keep their marketing dollars in-state, which supports local production of commercials and provides income to our media professionals. We have national brands located in the state which would benefit from keeping their
productions based locally. Similar to the emphasis throughout the state on ‘buying local’, we need to introduce this concept to media production.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS
Nearly every film production—both large and small—makes use of student interns. This provides a great learning opportunity for students and graduates of universities in Indiana. The growth of media production in nearly every industry dictates the serious need our state has for producing a skilled and well-educated workforce. Student opportunities are a big part of fulfilling that need. Having this industry base will also assure that our Indiana graduates have opportunities within the State and are not forced to leave in order to work in the industry.
WHY IT DIDN’T WORK BEFORE
From 2007 to 2012 a tax incentive was available for media production in the state of Indiana. The percentage of credit for qualified expenditures was 15%. Reasons why Indiana's Legislature allowed the program to expire at the end of 2011 were:
-The percentages offered were too low compared to neighboring states
-Indiana instituted a cap which was also too low to attract large productions.
-Studios and producers outside of Indiana did not know the incentives were
available. A lack of marketing resulted in the incentives not being utilized.
WHY IT WORKS IN SOME STATES
For a tax credit or incentive program to work, it needs time. The economic impact is long-term, with the growth of a workforce and infrastructure to support the industry. States that expect substantial positive return in opening years of a tax credit will likely be disappointed. Also, the States that have been most successful in the long-term have been more conservative on their percentages of credit. This has proven to be a sustainable and successful approach in Texas.
TAX CREDITS ARE ONE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
Efforts like what is being done with Film Indy are critical in helping develop the infrastructure and ‘user-friendly’ resources (permitting, location and talent databases, vendor partnerships, etc.) to convince productions that Indiana wants their business and demonstrate how we can help.
With a cap of $15M, this is a relatively low risk gamble to support an industry that has a large base and is already growing within the state. This show of support will make a lasting impact on the creation of permanent jobs and support of an industry that is already here, waiting to grow. It is also the state of Indiana's time to show support of this and other arts industries that can generate real opportunity through job creation and revenue.
2013-2014 Study—Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)—Midwest + Texas