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April 6, 2012
Washington Governor Approves Reinstatement of Film Incentives

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by Dave Wasson

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) has signed a bill to reinstate a tax incentive program for filmmakers that had expired in 2011.

Under the plan, filmmakers can get rebates worth up to 30 percent of their state business and occupation tax burdens by contributing to a state fund that then distributes the money back to eligible productions based on various formulas.

SB 5539, signed on March 29, expands the definition of motion picture to include productions intended for viewing on any technological platform, which opens the incentives to shows and commercials intended for Internet-based audiences instead of just television and movie theaters. The program is capped at $3.5 million in tax relief per year.

Backers argued that Washington's growing film industry was threatened by the inability to compete with neighboring states and British Columbia.

Opponents countered that the proposal would take money away from education.

Dave Wasson, Spokane

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