Louisiana’s film tax incentives are taking center stage in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial contest. On Friday, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill that placed a $180 million cap on the state’s motion picture tax incentive program – a bill that the film and TV industry strongly opposed.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Republican seeking to succeed Jindal, maintains that the cap is too low and will damage the state’s production industry. Dardenne, who as a state senator authored Louisiana’s generous tax incentives program, also claims that Disney/ABC has placed a moratorium on filming in Louisiana until this is rectified, although Disney/ABC has not confirmed this.
“I believe the new law sets the cap too low, and the way it might be administered as a new ‘backend’ credit redemption cap is even more damaging, both to the industry and to taxpayers who use them,” Dardenne said in a statement. “It creates unnecessary instability and uncertainty in the industry, and it is already having detrimental effects. It pains me to learn that Disney/ABC has placed a moratorium on sending new projects to Louisiana until this is resolved.”
“As lieutenant governor,” he said, “I know many of our visitors to Louisiana are here because of the exposure we have received on television and as the preferred location for more feature films than anywhere in North America. This industry is also a perfect fit for the creative culture in Louisiana, which we enjoy, and of which we are so proud. I want the thousands of Louisianans working in the film industry right now to know that I am committed to keeping their jobs here. As soon as I am sworn in as governor in January, I will work to rectify this mistake and keep us rolling. “
Dardenne trails U.S. Sen. David Vitter, also a Republican, in the polls for the October election. Jindal, who is not seeking re-election, is expected to announce this week he’s joining the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates.