Cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock recently interviewed President and CEO Ivan Schwarz to talk about the new bill, House Bill 525, which would increase the Ohio Film Tax Credit from $40 million to $100 million, allowing for the creation of many more new jobs for the state, but more specifically, for Northeast Ohio. ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE
A new bill before the Ohio General Assembly would more than double the state’s Motion Picture Tax Credit and would make some Broadway shows eligible for the benefit.
Currently at $40 million year, the credit would increase to $100 million annually under House Bill 525, according to Capitol Letter, cleveland.com’s daily Statehouse tip sheet.
The money is aimed at making Ohio more competitive than other states when Hollywood and Broadway producers scout locations, said the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Kirk Schuring, a Canton Republican, who recently visited Broadway with leaders from the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
Schuring is interested in economic development that can come from large film, television and theater productions.
Broadway plays and musicals that run in Ohio for at least five weeks, with at least six performances a week, would qualify for the credit under HB 525. So would productions known as “adaptive versions,” which show off-Broadway to work out kinks before opening in New York City.
Only New York, Chicago and New Hampshire have tax benefits for Broadway productions, said Ivan Schwarz, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
“What’s really nice about this is we will probably have the best incentive in the United States, which will make us more competitive than anybody,” he said.
Schwarz was on the New York trip with Schuring at the end of last year. They spoke to four Broadway producers who each encouraged the tax credit.
If the General Assembly adopts the bill, Cleveland – with the country’s second largest theater district, after New York – could get shows that run for up to five months, Schwarz said.
Schuring also hopes his bill will create a permanent Ohio workforce in film, TV and live theater – jobs such as lighting experts and stage techs.
The tax credit would be distributed twice a year, instead of the current annual award. Schuring said a twice yearly distribution allows the credit to be more flexible to award money as new projects arise.
The bill requires applicants to show the positive economic impact their production would have on the state, and productions will receive money based on their impact.
As the No. 2 in GOP House leadership, Schuring has an influential role that boosts the bill’s chances of being adopted by the General Assembly. Schuring hopes some producers will testify in favor of the bill.
“I think we can see more and more of these productions land in Ohio, in particular the Northeast Ohio area,” he said.