Lights. Camera. Gary?
Legislator wants to revive expired tax incentive for filmmakers
Lake County is trying to lure Hollywood back to Indiana by reviving an expired tax break.
For four years, Indiana offered a tax credit to reimburse filmmakers up to 40% of their expenses if they shot in Indiana. Legislators approved the break over the veto of then-Governor Mitch Daniels, who called it a waste of money that wouldn't any jobs.
The break expired last year, but East Chicago Senator Lonnie Randolph (D) wants to reinstate it. He's aiming specifically at bringing film crews to Gary, which enjoyed a brief spike in interest from Hollywood in 2010 and 2011. An estimated 50 movies were partly filmed in Gary in those years, including the blockbuster "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
Even if the city doesn't reach those heights again, Randolph argues any new business the struggling city can draw is worth attracting. He says the city has marketing potential as a low-cost alternative to Chicago, and says the tax break would enhance that advantage.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says only three productions statewide claimed the tax break while it was on the books. The total refunded was just under $60,000 -- far below Daniels' prediction it would cost the state millions. The IEDC declined further comment.