Rauner’s suspended film tax credits a political ploy

Governor Bruce Rauner

A suspension of the Illinois Filmmakers Tax Credit was one of many items contained in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s announced budget cuts, in an overt ploy to prod the Democrats to come to terms with his proposed fiscal 2016 state budget.

The official statement regarding the governor’s budget cuts, released to the media yesterday included: The Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will immediately defer application approvals for film tax credits.

To set your mind at ease, Illinois Film Office director Christine Dudley has made it known that all existing approved applications will continue to be processed, issued and transferred and that the statue is still in full effect.  

New applications will not be processed, however, until this issue is resolved. Dudley encourages filmmakers to continue to file applications, although their approval will be deferred, reports Mark Androw, AICP/Midwest chapter president

The application process applies to all film genres that are eligible to receive a 30% Illinois tax credit on their projects.  TV shows “Empire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire” are safely set for the new seasons.  However, funders of two entertainment projects backed out and left Illinois upon hearing the news.

For more and updated information about the tax credit status, contact Dudley directly at christine.dudley@illinois.gov.  

“AICP/Midwest is working with the Illinois Production Alliance (IPA) to make sure that the interests of the commercial community are protected and addressed in Springfield,” notes Androw, “as I am sure are the many other industries that have been affected by this extreme act of political gamesmanship.”

In reading the full release of the governor’s budget cuts, Androw says, “The Film Tax Credit suspension is just a small part of a much larger move by the Governor to address bigger budget issues with the Madigan-Cullerton budget impasse in Springfield.”

Illinois film tax credits have been a mighty magnet for film production in the state.  Overall, TV/feature films and spot production in the state climbed to an estimated $2.1 billion over the past four years, to deliver a 2.7 “trickle down effect” of $5.7 billion to the local economy and provide jobs for an estimated 17,000 film workers.

To express your concerns, contact Gov. Rauner and urge him, despite the financial crisis, not to allow the suspension of the tax credit approval continue for an extended length of time, so that business is not lost and reliability of the credits is sustained.