State of Incentives: Louisiana

Louisiana’s legislature turbocharged film incentives this year by raising the tax credit to 30%, after it had been scheduled to drop from 25% to 15% by 2012 and killing its sunset clause.

Laws enabling that expansion come during a year in which the state faced an estimated $1.3 billion shortfall in the financial year that began in July, reported the Baton Rouge Advocate.

The increase the result of a grass roots effort organized by Susie Labry, a former state clerical worker and supermarket cashier. In 2004 she found a new career with speaking parts and as an extra in movies, making more money than elsewhere.

Through e-mail blasts this year, Labry mobilized more than 1,200 members of grass-roots Baton Rouge Film Meetup to contact legislators. That network led to several thousand movie industry supporters statewide doing the same.

“We explained it in simple, baby terms,” Labry said of her frequent e-mails calling for tax credits with no sunsets and no scale-downs. Still, she confesses, “With the 30 percent ? we really were shocked that it did pass. In this economy, we won. We got through (the financial obstacles) and we were at the Capitol every day.”