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New tax credit bill aims to revive moviemaking in Arizona

Bill headed to committee
Posted at 7:26 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 00:31:40-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — For more than a decade, Arizona has lost out as a location for filming movie and TV shows. A bill introduced Wednesday in the legislature could even the playing field.

SB 1708 also known as the "Motion Picture Productions: Tax Credit" Bill was introduced by State Senate David Gowan of Sierra Vista. It would provide tax refund to studios based on how much they spend making a film in the state.

The bill is meant to help attract major studios to shoot at places like the Mescal movie set or other scenic places in our state.

"Hopefully it means that there will be more jobs coming because Hollywood studios will want to come here now," said Arizona Film Expo chair Daryl Mallett.

Mallett has been lobbying state lawmakers the past 12 years for a tax rebate bill that would entice Hollywood studios to make Tucson, and Arizona, a place for making movies again.

SB 1708 could be the long awaited legislation Mallett has been hoping for.

"It's not a rebate. It's a refund of money that we've collected from them. So we're not giving state money away," Mallett said. "Really, it's us hanging our shingle out and saying we're not a black spot on the map. You don't have to go to Albuquerque or Atlanta or Louisiana. You can come here again."

Here's the tax refund structure the bill sets up:

  • If a production spends $10 million they'll get a 15% refund.
  • Spending between $10 million and $35 million companies would get 17.5% back.
  • Anything over $35 million gets the company a 20% refund.
  • Additionally, companies that use local crews will get an extra 2.5% refund.

Mallett is hopeful this bill can gain support at the state capitol because it's co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans.

"The bipartisanship of this is very encouraging," Mallett said. "People of Arizona need to realize this is not a partisan issue, this is not a politics issue, this is [an] economic math problem."

It's a math problem Mallett believes can be solved by this senate bill.

It was introduced Wednesday February 2nd and will still need to go through committee before it can be considered for a vote.