FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A bill going through the statehouse is looking to encourage media productions in Indiana.
Representative Bob Morris (R-Fort Wayne) is taking this session to push House Bill 1315 through the Indiana General Assembly. The bill would establish a tax credit incentive for companies looking to film in Indiana.
“Whether it’s a musical, whether it’s a movie, whether it’s a production company that wants to shoot some commercials, they’re very, very broad sense as far as media goes,” said Morris.
The incentive could apply to location acquisition and lodging and food as well as editing services and on-set expenses like props and wardrobe. His hope is that it will bring new business to the state, as well as keep Hoosiers here.
“Many of these people want to come to Indiana, they want to come back home, but we just don’t have an infrastructure set up for them,” Morris said. “We have students that are currently taking courses on our on our state, we’re on universities that are taking getting degrees and leaving our state, I want those students to stay here in Indiana.”
Fort Wayne filmmakers George Johnson and Lonnie Norris say there is truth to that line of thinking.
“We love Indiana, but the work is everywhere else,” said Johnson. “What has happened historically, in what’s going to continue to happen, if something doesn’t change is these people get trained up here in Indiana, and then they move and the incentives will give them a reason to stay here.”
However, a tax credit option could incentivize productions to set up shop in Indiana.
“We looked initially outside the state of Indiana, that was one of the reasons,” said Norris. “Whether it’s Kentucky or Georgia, Oklahoma, maybe even Florida, in some cases, some of the areas, the incentives were encouraging and enticing.”
Norris and Johnson chose to make their latest film “Pulled from Darkness” in Fort Wayne regardless of those incentives, but say unless Indiana gets competitive, they may not be able to make the same choice in the future.
“As budgets grow and projects grow, there’s going to come a time where we’re going to have to go where the incentives are,” Johnson said. “It just makes sense, and so if the incentives were here, that would solve a lot of problems for us.”
You can read the full bill here. It is currently in the Ways and Means Committee. Similar legislation has been proposed in the Senate by Sen. Justin Busch (R-Fort Wayne).