Senator Bob Deuell

February 4, 2009
CONTACT: Thomas Flanders
(512) 463-0102

Deuell and Dukes File Bill to Stimulate the Moving Image Industry in the State of Texas

AUSTIN — State Senator Bob Deuell (R- Greenville) and State Representative Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) have filed Senate Bill 605 and House Bill 873 respectively, to enhance the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program. In 2007, Senator Deuell and Rep. Dukes passed House Bill 1634 creating the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program with the express purpose of making the state more attractive to media producers.

Although Texas has become a major location for feature and independent film production, television programming, commercials and video games, its filmmaking activity has slowed the past couple of years as producers have opted instead to film on location in Louisiana, New Mexico and Michigan because of their fiercely competitive financial enticements.

Senate Bill 605 and House Bill 873 will put Texas in a favorable position to return production jobs back to Texas and to once again make Texas a leader in the film industry. The changes in statute allows greater flexibility and provides for the grants to be determined by the Music, Film, Television and Multimedia Office in order to better compete with other states.

The recruitment and expansion of media production activities are extremely competitive, and virtu¬ally every state has enacted specific fiscal incentives to attract and retain the media industry. Currently, Texas pales in comparison to most states in terms of the size of incentives offered with its program only allowing up to a 5 percent rebate while the nationwide median is a 25 percent tax credit. This situa¬tion is compounded by the fact that states such as Michigan, Massachusetts, New York and Louisiana recently increased their incentives significantly – roughly five to nine times the amount that Texas offers. New Mexico and Louisiana, states that routinely stand-in for the varying landscapes of Texas, both offer 25 percent tax credit programs that have great success luring filmmakers to their states, away from Texas.

Since 2002, New Mexico’s film dollars have increased from $8 million annually to $428 million, as Louisiana’s have increased from $30 million to $620 million.

"The Texas moving image industry creates jobs, builds the economy and fosters the development of the creative arts industry", Deuell said. "The legislation will strengthen our program and make us more competitive".

"If crews move to other states because there is more work available there, Texas jobs go away and the appeal for making films in Texas diminishes, Dukes said. "House Bill 873 is a win-win solution for Texas. It will keep producers coming to Texas, keep existing movie crews based in Texas and boost video game production in our state, helping to stimulate our slowing economy".

In 2007, the Texas Legislature enacted the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program that offers cash grants equal to 5 percent of qualified in-state spending on feature films, documentaries, television programs, commercials and video games. The Texas Legislature has authorized up to $10 million for fiscal 2008 and another $10 million for fiscal 2009.