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Home News Film Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Film Tax Incentives: tax credits cut to $500,000 a year cap
Wisconsin Governor Vetoes Film Tax Incentives: tax credits cut to $500,000 a year cap Print E-mail
Film/TV
Written by Ruth L. Ratny   
Friday, 17 July 2009 12:59
Wisconsin’s hard-earned and effective film tax incentives became history, for time being anyway, when Gov. Jim Doyle used his veto authority in the biennial budget last month.

Ignoring thousands of supportive incentive calls and signatures asking him to retain the film incentives, Doyle slashed a proposed limit on the 25 percent refundable tax credit, from $1.5 million to $500,000 a year, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009.

Although the veto was not unexpected, since Wisconsin is $8 billion in debt, Film Wisconsin executive director Scott Robbe, called Doyle’s action “one of profound disbelief.

“It bewilders us as to why the governor would kill the only industry showing any growth within the state,” he said.

“It’s obvious Gov. Doyle ignored the will of the people. His dictator-like veto renders Wisconsin’s economic growth in film and television virtually impossible,” Robbe charged.

He pointed out that the bi-partisan legislative Joint Finance Committee showed its support by voting 16-0 in favor of retaining the film incentives earlier this month.

Film Wisconsin, which serves as the state’s public-private film office, claimed under-reported or inaccurate film revenue numbers were used to justify the governor’s veto.

Retaining the tax incentives were supported by “literally thousands of people who wrote and called the government on this issue,” with Save Wisconsin and Film and Arts Wisconsin websites calling for action.

Since the tax incentives were enacted in 2008, Wisconsin benefited from $75 million worth of studio and independent movie and TV production. Those revenues, in turn, helped build a film infrastructure throughout the state.

At present, the sole movie filming in Wisconsin—and possibly its last one for the time being—is Strata Pictures’ $4-$5 million feature, ˆ, starring David Straitharin. It starts filming last week in Milwaukee.

While Robbe is angry and disappointed, he and the loyal Film Wisconsin supporters are not throwing in the towel over this setback. “If anything, Film Wisconsin is known for its tenacity and fight, and we’ll be right in there fighting,” he said.

The Milwaukee-based Film Wisconsin office will be retained. “We always manage to find the financial resources to continue,” he said.

Film Wisconsin’s phone is 414/287-4251.