Indiana needs film incentives

July 12, 2014

The recent opening of the motion picture “The Fault in Our Stars,” based on the novel by Indianapolis’ own John Green, has led to a re-examination of Indiana’s film incentive policy. The movie, based in Indianapolis, was filmed in Pittsburgh due to Pennsylvania’s more lucrative tax incentives. It was more cost-effective to re-create the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s iconic Funky Bones sculpture than it was to film at the 100 Acres in Indianapolis.

Indiana is one of 12 states that do not offer tax incentives to bolster their film and media industries [Hicks column, June 16]. By essentially giving production companies a coupon, Indiana could entice more production in our state, encourage entrepreneurs to open media companies and create jobs, and could help revitalize a stagnant production industry.

Critics argue that the tax incentive only produces short-term benefits for high-profile films and companies, and creates transient, low-paying jobs. This is not true.

First, tax incentives are not only for big budget Hollywood films. The incentives are designed to bolster both in-state and attract out-of-state businesses that produce a range of media—industrial, pharmaceutical, and training videos, TV commercials and documentaries. This creates a more robust film and media industry that results in more permanent high-paying jobs, and increased sustainable income in a variety of pay ranges for self-employed contractors.

While a number of international businesses are headquartered locally, they chose to film outside Indiana. Because of the vacuum created by lack of incentives, Indiana’s industry is small and the infrastructure for productions has migrated to those neighboring states with incentives.

A production tax incentive is necessary for Indiana to become competitive. A comprehensive incentive will allow Indiana to encourage productions here, increase revenue for the state, retain graduates and generate long-term business and high-paying jobs for many Hoosiers.

Glenn Pratt

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