State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has called on Gov. Tom Corbett not to follow through on a proposal to end Pennsylvania's Film Tax Credit as he prepares for his budget address to the legislature.
"I urge the governor to pursue other sources of information on the value of the Film Tax Credit," said Mr. Readshaw. "The tax credit has been so overwhelmingly beneficial, especially here in the Pittsburgh area, I can't see how someone could conclude otherwise."
Under the tax credit, filmmakers that spend at least 60 percent of their total production budget in Pennsylvania get a 25 percent tax credit on their expenditures here. Not only can motion picture productions qualify, but so do television movies and series, commercials, pilot programs, television talk and game shows, and reality series; so long as they are produced for a national audience.
Southwestern Pennsylvania has become so popular for film makers that Pittsburgh has begun earning the moniker "Hollywood of the East."
"Perhaps the fact that many behind-the-camera and acting jobs are not permanent may be skewing the information the governor has received, but people hired for these jobs, and not just the stars, are paid very well for this work and many of them live in the commonwealth," Rep. Readshaw said. "The production companies use local sources for set construction materials, rental cars and a long list of other assets we have in Pittsburgh."
Producers of a growing number of motion picture and television productions have stated they will go elsewhere to hold down production costs if Corbett rescinds the tax credit.
"Should the governor retain the Film Tax Credit, a lot of people in the Pittsburgh area will be extremely relieved, but if he ends it, he will make a lot of Canadians happy," added Mr. Readshaw. "Without the tax credit, lower costs in Canada will mean that the role of Pittsburgh will be played by the city and people of Toronto, and they will be laughing all the way to the bank."
He concluded by offering to assist the governor in getting a more accurate accounting of the benefits of film production in Western Pennsylvania and statewide.
"If he sees the true figures, he'll want to keep it," Mr. Readshaw said.