Texas Considers Bolstering Tax Credits for Film Productions

The state currently has modest incentives on the books

Taylor Sheridan
Taylor Sheridan has written many projects set in Texas — but not filmed there.
David Becker/Getty Images for Paramount+

Spend enough time watching movies and television shows and you might start to notice some recurring patterns in terms of where they were filmed. There’s the ubiquitous “Made in Georgia” tag that comes up after countless TV episodes; there can also be some surprises when one city is swapped for another – such as when The Americans found locations in New York City that resembled Washington, D.C.

Much of that comes from favorable tax credits put into place to draw film and television productions to a specific state. As The Hollywood Reporter recently noted, a number of prominent films and series set in Texas were not filmed in Texas — and the state’s government is working on addressing that.

While Texas currently has some incentives in place, The Hollywood Reporter reports that there’s bipartisan enthusiasm for increasing those considerably. The state’s Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, has stated a goal of convincing Taylor Sheridan to relocate his numerous productions to the Lone Star State.

That isn’t to say that film and television tax credits are uniformly popular, however. During her run for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018, Cynthia Nixon ran on a platform of opposing New York’s film and television tax credits, for instance.

Warner Bros. Faces Tax Fraud for Equipment Costs During ‘Sully’
The company allegedly claimed a $600,000 Georgia tax credit for equipment that wasn’t used in-state.

There are also some political issues that overlap with film-related tax breaks that could come into play with Texas. Last year, Variety chronicled a number of states that had dramatically curtailed abortion rights while still incentivizing film and television productions. It adds another layer of complication to the decision-making process of where to film a project — and if Texas does increase their tax incentive program for films and television, it will likely complicate things further. But with more and more states making it financially advantageous to film there, this debate seems far from over.

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