MARIETTA, Ga. — Georgia’s film tax credit is under fire and it may be a target when the legislature meets next week.
The state claims the tax credit has created a nearly ten billion dollar economic impact. But a Kennesaw State University study says it's actually less than half that.
The state says there are 29 feature films and TV shows in production right now in Georgia. The industry has constructed huge studios and employs thousands of people.
"I understand why anyone working in the film industry thinks it’s a good idea because they’re actually benefiting from it, right?" asked Dr. J.C. Bradbury of Kennesaw State. "So there’s no denying that people who work in that industry benefit. But the fact is, it comes at a cost," Bradbury told 11Alive News.
Bradbury’s report says the state’s claim of a $9.5 billion impact from the film industry “lacks any economic justification.” He says the real number is “no greater than $4.2 billion.”
Instead of employing 92,000 people, the Kennesaw State study says the film industry “may support up to 32,000” jobs.
And he says each job costs the state between $64,000 and $119,00 --- with each household in the state paying $220 to fund the subsidy in 2018.
At the Capitol, lawmakers and governors have protected Georgia’s film industry. But this year, the state faces an budget shortfall, fueled by a state tax cut that piggybacked off the federal tax cut of 2017.
State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) says it makes sense to see if the state is overpaying for its film industry.
"If it’s economic development, let's prove it by the statistics instead by the way we feel. We need to make fact based decisions in the state of Georgia," Tippins told 11Alive News Monday.
Revisiting the film industry tax credit is "clearly an avenue that I think legislators should be pursuing, considering that the economic impacts have not been demonstrated. Not just in Georgia but in any other state that has tried policies that are similar," Bradbury said.