House passes 7 film tax credit cleanup bills

House passes 7 film tax credit cleanup bills

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hollywood South once again grabbed headlines at the Louisiana State Capitol during the legislative session.

Seven film tax credit cleanup bills passed the House before noon Thursday. The bills were authored by state Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans.

He said it's an effort to weed out fraud. According to state officials, the tax credit is costing taxpayers four times more than it should.

Morrell's colleagues in the House of Representatives, state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, and state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, presented the bills.

"There was an innocent party that had been affected, because he bought the credits in good faith, the state had certified the credits and then three years later, disallowed the credits and we're going after the gentleman for the tax liability with penalties and interest," Robideaux said.

The seven bills modify the costs of the credits and tighten regulations.

Rep. Robideaux made a move to attach his own film tax credit bill to one of the seven up for debate.

Wednesday night, Robideaux's bill was dramatically changed in the Senate Finance Committee, capping the credit in his bill to $180 million a year, down from $200 million.

And Senate leaders attached the SAVE tax credit to Robideaux's bill. That's the higher education fee that failed to get out of a House committee Wednesday afternoon before being resurrected.

But Robideaux, fearing how different his bill had become and that it could die on the Senate floor, attached it as an amendment to the other bills, hopefully allowing it to bypass the Senate floor.

"And so for that reason I want to the movie bill onto Senator Morrell's bill just so that instrument is still alive with the possibility of passing," said Robideaux. "Because I think we need that to fit in with the part of the puzzle of the budget that we're trying to do."

All seven passed overwhelmingly and now go back to Senate for one final look before the governor's desk.

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