Our homegrown film industry was fleeing Maryland in 2011. Skilled film workers needed film and television production jobs that had moved to states with generous film incentives. Conflicting priorities had reduced Maryland’s ability to offer incentives. What a difference a year makes.
Last year Maryland enacted the Maryland Film Production Employment Act of 2011 to provide tax incentives for television and film companies who would produce films and television programs in Maryland. Almost immediately, world class projects, including HBO’s new series VEEP, and Netflix’s House of Cards, set up shop in Maryland. These productions (along with HBO’s Game Change, shot in Howard County), have brought Maryland’s skilled production crews back to Maryland after a long dry spell, and hundreds of Maryland businesses are reaping the benefits.
According to DBED, the productions that chose Maryland in 2011 account for $185 Million in additional spending, creating 550 new jobs for film crews and actors. Because the program was so successful, the tax credits were quickly exhausted. A new bill, SB 1066, was proposed in Maryland’s General Assembly this Spring. It passed in the Senate unanimously, and is now in the House. Senate Bill 1066 would raise the annual cap on tax credits and extend the sunset, allowing Maryland to keep the outstanding television series it has attracted for subsequent seasons, while keeping the Maryland Film Office’s doors open to new film projects.