Massachusetts House OKs tax breaks for film companies to build studios
After a fierce and lengthy debate, the state House of Representatives voted Thursday night to give new tax credits to the film industry.
The bill, which passed on a voice vote, would offer tax breaks to film companies that build studios in Massachusetts and is intended to solidify Hollywood’s growing presence here. The measure now moves to the Senate.
Rep. Ronald Mariano, the Quincy Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the tax credits would be capped at $60 million.
The developers of a planned $300 million studio complex at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station could be the first beneficiaries of the construction tax credit if the bill is passed. The developers have said their plans for SouthField Studios depend on getting tax credits of up to $60 million in from the state.
The legislation would represent the third round of tax incentives for the film industry on Beacon Hill. Lawmakers first passed a package of film and video production credits in the fall of 2005. They lifted a cap and made other changes to broaden the incentives last summer.
Gov. Deval Patrick recently touted the impact the financial incentive has had, telling a crowd in Hull that 14 films were shot here last year compared with just one or two the year before.
Critics of the tax breaks call them a waste of taxpayer dollars, saying the money winds up lining the pockets of wealthy Hollywood stars. Supporters argue that they generate economic activity and create jobs.
In an 84-68 vote, House lawmakers voted to an amendment to expand the tax credits to the video game industry.