Apr 6, 2022 - Business

Film industry asks for statehouse boost

Guy on the set of a tv show
Actor LaRoyce Hawkins on the set of "Chicago P.D." at Cinespace Chicago in 2018. Photo: Parrish Lewis/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

This is the final week of the spring session in Springfield, and bills are stacking up waiting to be called.

  • That includes an expansion of the state's film production tax credit.

Why it matters: Illinois film production has become an economic engine. Then-Chicago Cultural Affairs commissioner Mark Kelly estimated last year that local productions would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic value, including 20,000 jobs.

Context: Passed in 2008, the credit gives film and television production companies a 30% tax break to shoot, produce, and edit in Illinois.

Driving the news: The Illinois Production Alliance (IPA) and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce want to see the tax credit expanded to remain competitive with other states, including Michigan and Indiana.

  • They're calling for an industry-funded workforce development program for film training, with an emphasis on jobs for women and minorities, as well as more non-resident positions.

What they're saying: "We have to do this to stay competitive and keep our place as one of the top states in the country," IPA executive director Christine Dudley tells Axios. "A modest update of our current program is necessary to achieve our first annual $1 billion in production spending."

By the numbers: California and New York are the top states for film production. Georgia is now third, posting over $4 billion in spending in 2021.

  • Illinois is currently ranked No. 7 behind states like New Jersey and New Mexico.

State of play: There are currently 15 productions working here, everything from Dick Wolf's "Chicago" franchise to HBO Max shows like "South Side" and "Somebody Somewhere."

Zoom in: According to NBC/Universal, the total economic activity for just the "Chicago" franchise since 2012 is $2.1 billion.

  • The franchise has also created 17,200 jobs and brought in more than $1.17 billion in income for Illinois workers.

What's next: The bill, introduced at the beginning of the spring session, is still in committee.

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