Ohio doubles tax credit to lure more movie production

By Tim FeranThe Columbus Dispatch


“This is just one of many pieces falling into place to create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in positive economic impact for the region,” said John Daugherty, executive director of the Greater Columbus Film Commission, in a statement. “We have a lot of work to do, but with continued support from the city, state and region, we are making headway.”

The legislation, passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Kasich last month, will go into effect at the end of September. In addition to doubling the incentive cap, the law removes the $5 million cap for each project and raises the incentive rate to 30 percent of production dollars spent in Ohio.

Since 2011, when the state increased the tax credit to $20 million, 1,729 full-time jobs have been created and more than $400 million in total economic impact has been generated, according to the Ohio Department of Development.

The surge in production in Ohio — and the resulting increase in employment and spending — has been sparked largely by the tax credit. But to bring bigger budget productions to the state, the tax incentive had to be increased, film-commission directors across the state have said. Ohio had already hit its $20 million incentive cap in April.

The increased tax credit is “an important step in building the financial infrastructure needed to establish Ohio as an important player in the global film market,” said Len Hartman, president and chief operating officer of the Ohio Film Group, a post-production facility in Columbus.

“As part of that growth, OFG and Columbus, as well as the rest of the state, will certainly benefit from more and larger film and TV projects coming to the region in a more consistent and timely fashion,” Hartman said.

For several years, Columbus lagged behind Cleveland and Cincinnati in attracting big-budget movie productions with big-name stars. Lured in part by the film tax credit, such films as “The Avengers” and “Captain America” have set up camp in the other big cities in Ohio, while a smattering of low-budget productions called Columbus home.

That began to change last year. Thanks to two films shot in 2015 in Columbus — “478” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and “I Am Wrath” starring John Travolta — 834 jobs have been created and $16.6 million is estimated to have been spent.

“The film commission is taking deliberate and planned steps to grow the film industry in central Ohio,” Daugherty said. “We are here to create year-round jobs and grow an industry in Columbus. We have the resources with our schools and our spirit of collaboration to make central Ohio a force in the film industry.”


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