Opelousas Sen. Elbert Guillory Concerned About Potential Impact Of Gov. Jindal’s Tax Swap Plan On Film Industry In La.
As different areas of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's tax reform plan have come under question since it was released to lawmakers by the governor, Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory (D) is calling attention to an area that hasn't gotten much attention yet - the film industry in Louisiana.
Specifically, Sen. Guillory is concerned the proposal would deny film payroll tax breaks to people making over a million dollars on movies and tv shows shot here, thereby limiting movies and television shows that employ these costly actors. Guillory says that could potentially chase away some bigger movie productions, keeping in mind films with famous celebrities have bigger budgets:
That top tier is where actors' salaries are. Producers get their part of the money and if you cap that you impact the desirability of the movie industry that comes to Louisiana. That's what makes it so desirable right now.
Guillory says Louisiana has become a premiere place in America to film movies, and that's had a more than $1.5 Billion impact on the state's economy since 2002. And that doesn't include just the actors. Guillory points out big productions means more money being spent in Louisiana, including the hiring of local crew members and vendors:
We want to protect the jobs that those industries bring to Louisiana. Many families are affected, many families are fed by the movie industries. We want them to stay here. We want that industry to grow.
But Guillory's concerns doesn't mean he is coming out against Jindal's tax swap proposal, which seeks to eliminate income taxes while raising state sales taxes on most items. Guillory says he likes most of Jindal's plan and believes it will grow industry and jobs in Louisiana. But the movie industry is one Guillory would like to see grow:
As we have these discussions and these negotiations, I'd like for us to look at not putting that particular cap, or raising the cap very significantly, so that we would retain the desirability of Louisiana for the movie industry.
Guillory says we should encourage the Louisiana film industry to grow, not enact policies to discourage it.