Maryland film tax credit heads to O'Malley's desk

Local,Maryland,Movies,Andy Brownfield

ANNAPOLIS -- Lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill to more than triple Maryland's film tax credit, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.

The House of Delegates approved the measure 108-31. The Senate passed the bill in February.

The bill would increase the amount of film tax credits available for productions that spend at least $500,000 in Maryland from $7.5 million to $25 million, beginning July 1.

The legislation would beef up and extend incentives first passed in 2011 to encourage filmmakers to choose Maryland for productions. The credits had fallen to $1 million.

Republican opponents to the bill in the House said the credits weren't helping Marylanders, but instead would go to Hollywood companies.

"Once the film production is finished, they leave the state and there's no lasting benefit from this tax credit," said Del. Mark Fisher, R-Calvert County.

"A tax credit is when you take a suitcase around to Maryland taxpayers ... and they all have to put money in it. ... And then the governor gets to decide who gets that cash."

Del. Melony Griffith, D-Prince George's County, said the intent of the bill was to bring productions to Maryland, where they will spend money and stimulate the local economy.

Supporters of the measure pointed out the success of shows like Netflix's "House of Cards" and HBO's "Veep," both of which were filmed recently in the state.

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