Gubernatorial candidates clash over film tax credit law
BATON ROUGE - New legislation imposing a cap on film tax credit payouts in Louisiana caused a political uproar after Governor Bobby Jindal signed it Friday, and is drawing in candidates for the state's next governor.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and Senator David Vitter, the top Republicans vying for the office, issued dueling press releases this week over whether or not Disney and ABC had put new film projects on hold in Louisiana because of the law.
Dardenne said Monday he'd learned a "moratorium" had been put in place. Vitter responded Tuesday that a Disney vice president told him there was no such moratorium, and they hoped to produce more in the future.
The new law puts a cap of $180 million on the state's tax credit program and $30 million on individual credits. Before it averaged around $270 million a year with no upper limit on individual credits.
News 2 spoke Monday night with Patrick Mulhearn of Celtic Studios, who recently returned from a trip to meet with Hollywood executives and discuss the changes to the tax credit. He said Disney and ABC had indeed put any new projects on hold until they get some questions answered about the new law.
One thing Dardenne and Vitter did agree on was if elected governor they would address the situation to keep the film industry interested in Louisiana. Dardenne said Monday he felt the cap was too low, while Vitter said Tuesday he would focus on making the tax credit a "sustainable" but "significant" one.