Herbert vetoes film incentives bill
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has called ‘Cut!’ on a bill that would have raised the amount of cash incentives the state can give film productions that shoot here.
S.B. 278 would have raised the maximum cash rebate incentives Utah can offer from $500,000 to $2.5 million. Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, in March told The Park Record that would have given the state more flexibility to offer cash to larger film productions in the future if it made financial sense to do so.
For financial reasons, the state currently only offers cash to small productions, while it gives larger productions tax incentives, which have no maximum dollar amount, Pearce said.
The bill passed through the Utah Legislature, but Herbert vetoed the bill following the Legislative session. As required by the state constitution, Herbert outlined his objections to the bill in a letter to Wayne Neiderhauser, president of the state Senate, and Greg Hughes, speaker of the House.
Increasing the maximum incentive amount is premature and "not the most effective use of these important, but limited available incentive dollars," Herbert wrote.
Rickey Flores, marketing and creative executive for the Utah Film Commission, said the veto will not have a drastic effect on the state’s ability to lure film productions in the near-term. No plans to begin offering large cash incentives were in the works.
"The veto didn’t really effect anything that much, just because it was part of an incentive we’re not really utilizing," Flores said. "It was kind of a non-essential bill, so the veto didn’t really impact our office."
Flores said, however, the bill would have helped if the state was to begin offering more cash incentives.
"If this was passed and money was appropriated into (the cash incentives) later on, then it would have been advantageous," Flores said. "But it’s one of those things where we don’t even know if that will occur or happen."
Herbert’s veto came just days before the Film Commission announced that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has approved tax credit incentives for four projects. Highlighting those is "It’s Family," from director Roger Donaldson, who is returning to Utah. He previously filmed "The World’s Fastest Indian" in Utah.
In-state spending for "It’s Family" is projected at $5 million and it will receive a tax rebate of $1.5 million, according to a press release.
"It’s not uncommon for filmmakers to return to Utah for other projects," Pearce said in the release. "We do everything we can to make the production experience a positive one and it certainly helps that Utah really does have it all: the scenery, the infrastructure and the statewide support."
Other films that will be shooting in the coming months include "Into the Mystic" ($58,443 tax credit), "Saturday’s Warrior" ($120,940) and "Riot" ($55,680).
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