Thanks to an extremely generous tax credit for movies and TV shows filmed there, Georgia has become a surprisingly huge part of the Hollywood machine. How many TV shows end with that pleasantly melodic “Georgia” sign-off in the credits? How many Marvel Cinematic Universe movies made billions of dollars by turning the fabulous backlots and warehouses of the Peach State into the fabulous backlots and warehouses of Wakanda, or Sokovia, or Spider-Man: No Way Home’s New York? Show biz would be nowhere without Georgia these days.
And Georgia is sick of it. Well, that might be a little dramatic, but the State Senate has proposed a way to cutback on just how extremely generous that extremely generous tax credit is. As it stands now (thanks to Variety for explaining all of this) any film or TV production that spends at least $500,000 in the state a year is guaranteed a 20 percent tax credit and an additional 10 percent credit if they put that “Georgia” logo in the credits. Better yet, those tax credits are transferrable, so movie and TV studios can sell them to people or companies that are actually based in Georgia and save more money.
Georgia’s State Senate is proposing a change to that system that would put a cap of $900 million on the total tax credits being given out, which is a few million short of the total credits from last year. Also, under the proposed change, the credits would no longer be transferrable, meaning it would no longer really be worth it unless your studio is planning to pay a lot of taxes in Georgia—and seeing as how most movie studios are not based in Georgia, that takes away a lot of the incentive.
The core issue seems to be some people in Georgia who don’t like that their state is bending over so much, financially, for… you know, Hollywood types. Coastal elites. Actors named Chris. During a hearing, in response to someone noting that the movie industry brings $4 billion into the state’s economy every year, Republican State Senator Chuck Hufstetler said that the tax credit “needs limitations” and that tax money is being used to pay for “private jets, personal trainers, and chefs.”
This proposal also comes as Hollywood and Georgia have been playing a years-long game of chicken over the movie business’ perceived liberal leaning and the state’s headfirst dive into a whole lot of Right-wing bullshit. The state has often seemed uncomfortable with how much Hollywood money it takes, and moves like this tax credit idea seem like a way to feel out the studios and see how they’ll react. Historically, they haven’t had much of a reaction at all to the aforementioned Right-wing bullshit, but we’ll see if messing with their wallets will get a bigger reaction.
As for everyone who doesn’t live in Georgia or work on movies, the relevant part of this is that a ton of studios make use of the Georgia tax credits, so if getting them becomes less beneficial, it may have a longterm impact on how movies—especially big-budget ones, like Marvel stuff—get made.