All production genres stand to benefit from improvements to extension of wage tax incentive

At a North Side location for “The Break Up” and in sweltering weather, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the extension of the wage tax credit bill through 2006.

Illinois Production Alliance members, who worked diligently with the governor and legislative leaders to revitalize the state’s film industry, welcomed the passage of stronger, expanded incentive legislation to advance statewide production of movies, TV shows and commercials.

Said Mark Egmon, IPA first VP: “The IPA is a shining example of how effective a cross-section of industry disciplines can be when personal agendas are replaced by a collective voice. Without that group expertise pulling in the same direction, such an effective piece of legislation could not have been crafted.”

Chicago Story’s Mark Androw, AICP national chairman, was among industry leaders who attended the signing of the legislation into law.

“This legislation is a boon for commercial production in Illinois. Savings are significant, generally around 10% of the total gross commercial production costs,” he said.

“Jobs with large talent costs and use fees will see significant savings. The improvements in the legislation from the previous bill make this a very easy to use and effective incentive for shooting commercials in Illinois.”

Added Essanay’s Wayne Kubacki, an IPA VP: “Now with transferability [added to the bill] there should be no reason for the commercial industry not to embrace the tax credit, since any company can now benefit financially from the tax credit, regardless whether or not they have any tax liability in Illinois.”

The IPA worked with legislators to increase the amount of the tax credit incentive by 10% when qualified productions hire who live in areas of high poverty or high unemployment. It provides added incentives to encourage diverse hiring practices on motion picture productions.

The IPA was a driving force in gaining approval of Illinois’ first incentive which took effect last year, providing a tax credit equal to 25% of the wages paid to Illinois residents working on film/TV projects shot in the state.

Features that filmed in the state so far this year are estimated to create 5,000 full and part-time jobs and inject $68 million into the state economy.

The IPA is a diverse coalition including labor unions, production companies, commercial producers, postproduction houses, educational institutions and filmmakers from across the state dedicated to creating opportunities for all sectors of visual media in Illinois.

For more information, programs and initiatives see www.illinoisproduction.org.

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