HARRISBURG - Bring on the lights, the cameras, and the action.
So says Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), who Thursday announced he was introducing a bill to uncap the tax credit for production companies that film in Pennsylvania.
The Film Production Tax Credit program is capped at $60 million annually, but its supporters have argued for years that the cap limits production in Philadelphia and the state, let alone do anything to encourage growth.
Pileggi and others argue that uncapping the credit could create jobs in the state. Film-related wages in Pennsylvania totaled $248 million in 2011, according to a report released Thursday by the Independent Fiscal Office.
The report also estimated that if the program was uncapped, the average annual demand for film tax credits would either double to $120 million or triple to $180 million.
Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, argued that the bill is badly needed, saying it could make Philadelphia the third-busiest city for cinematic productions in the country.
"We have an incredibly indigenous industry and it's grown tremendously over the years," she said, "but it's stagnated."
In May, Comcast SportsNet moved to Connecticut, where there is no cap on tax credits, Pinkenson said.
Paranoia, Jay-Z: Made in America, Political Animals, and Do No Harm were among the movies and television shows produced in the city last year.
The film tax credit program was created in 2004 to encourage film and television production work in Pennsylvania. To qualify for a credit, a production must incur at least 60 percent of its production expenses in Pennsylvania. The amount of the credit is equal to 25 percent of qualified production expenses.
Aside from uncapping the credit, Pileggi's proposal also calls for creating a tax credit for videogame production done entirely in the state and at a facility with at least 10 permanent full-time employees who live in Pennsylvania.