Senate approves film credit increase

(Andy Atkinson )
March 17, 2014|By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun

A bill to boost Maryland's film production tax credit cleared the Senate Monday night.

The measure, approved 45 to 1, authorizes $18.5 million in tax credits the state may award in the next fiscal year for movie and television productions. The credit had been increased this year from $7.5 million to $25 million, but was set to return to the lower level next year, according to the Department of Legislative Services.

Supporters have argued that without more tax credits, the state could lose lucrative projects like the Netflix series "House of Cards," which has filmed much of its first two seasons at sites in Harford County and Baltimore, including renting space in the Baltimore Sun building. The series has added $286 million to the state's economy, according to a state film industry coalition.

"House of Cards" star and executive producer Kevin Spacey has been quoted as saying the series would return to Maryland to film its third season. But Media Rights Capital, the California company producing the show, wrote state officials saying it was delaying work until it could be assured that enough tax credits would be approved.

The bill now goes to the House, where that chamber's version remains in committee.

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