Cook: Indiana needs film and media incentives

Posted by: Andi Sommers  | Friday, January 15, 2021

When thinking about Indiana's key industries, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and pharmaceuticals may come to mind. Many of these sectors have flourished in the Hoosier state because of our business friendly climate, which makes it possible for these job creators to expand their operations. We're at a time, when once again, Indiana can position itself as a place for economic development with the creation of a film and media tax credit, and I authored legislation to do just that.

Recently, several film companies chose to work elsewhere, even though the film's storyline takes place in Indiana. For example, Indiana was considered to be a main character in the Parks and Rec TV series, but the show was filmed in southern California. "The Fault in Our Stars" is a movie based on a novel authored by Indiana native John Green, which takes place in Indiana, but was shot in Pittsburgh and made to look like it was Indianapolis. These are just a couple of times our state missed out on millions of dollars in revenue and opportunities to showcase some of Indiana's best features from this $300 billion industry.

In addition to our business friendly climate, Indiana also has local talent to contribute to these productions. Our state is home to more than a dozen media schools, but roughly 60% of graduates move away to cities like New York, Atlanta and Hollywood to find work. If we want to keep these students and their skills in Indiana, we must do our part to incentivize production companies to work in Indiana and create jobs.

Many of these productions can also contribute to the local economy. Whether it's buying materials to build sets and props or utilizing hotels and restaurants, several key industries can benefit from filmmakers choosing Indiana to shoot their production. We know Indiana is already losing out to surrounding states that already offer media incentives and are generating between $400 million and $6 billion in economic impact and have created roughly 20,000 media-related jobs. My proposal comes as Indiana is expected to lose nearly $750 million in economic activity from the convention business because of COVID-19. By creating this film and media tax incentive, we have an opportunity to soften that blow and spur more economic growth.  

Indiana has a solid foundation to help our film industry thrive, and creating a tax credit for film and media companies could further incentivize them to work in our state. If you have any input about House Bill 1193 or how I can better serve our community as your state representative, please contact my office at H32@iga.in.gov

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32,
which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton,
Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.