Great piece yesterday out of The News-Star (Movies Bring New Hope to Monroe) on Louisiana’s booming film industry that is spurring local economic development all over the state. Fueled by a tax incentive that has been in place since 2002, filming has increased exponentially in Louisiana, putting people to work, invigorating local small businesses, and stimulating long-term investment in the state’s infrastructure and burgeoning creative community.
Small towns like Monroe are feeling the direct impact of the film industry’s growth in their home state, and of the economic benefits that on-location filming generates. According to the article, R2 Productions’ New Hope is one project coming to Monroe, and founder Rodney Ray wants to turn the town into a new filming hot spot.
Filmmakers who invest over $300,000 on in-state investments in Louisiana qualify for a 30 percent transferable tax credit, with an additional 5 percent transferable employment tax credit available on for those who hire in-state residents. In 2010 alone, 69 movies and 18 TV series filmed in Louisiana, including Battleship, The Green Lantern and Memphis Beat.
Now third in line behind California and New York for the number of productions produced, Louisiana’s motion picture and television industry is responsible for 16,483 jobs in Louisiana, and $709.6 million in total wages, including indirect jobs and wages. Over 7,600 are direct film and television industry employees, including more than 2,000 direct production employees. Over 1,000 movie and TV-related businesses are now located in Louisiana, including more than 450 production-related companies. The state now has 15 soundstages and enough workers to handle 10 film crews at once. The boom in filming, encouraged by the tax credit, has laid the foundation for a permanent motion picture industry in Louisiana.
The film industry itself is not the only economic sector that is driven by increased production. On-location filming has a unique economic ripple effect; when production crews come to town, they rely on local businesses for goods and services essential for their work, including equipment rentals, caterers, hardware stores, and construction companies. Since 2007, MPAA member studios have paid an average of $101.3 million per year to local vendors, injecting capital directly into local economies.
It’s great to see that towns like Monroe are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the state tax incentive, and we look forward to seeing more of Louisiana on the big screen.