State proposes a $30 Mil Cap for credit and extension of the sunset date for Film Tax Credits
Hawaii’s paradise locales have hosted many film and TV productions, such as “Lost”, “From Here to Eternity,” “The Hunger Games,” along with many others and lawmakers hope that a new bill will continue that rich history and safeguard the preservation of the Aloha state culture. In conjunction with Hawaii’s distinctive scenery, the film credit tax incentive program consistently lure productions to the state. Owing to Hawaii’s scarce land as well as the sensitivity of the islands’ environmental and cultural issues, State Senator Glenn Wakai wants to ensure that filmmakers understand and respect the islands through a new bill that aims to create a more positive impact on Hawaii. Most imperative in the bill is the introduction of an annual cap of $30 million for the credit and the extension of the sunset date for the program from 1/1/2019 to 1/1/2024. The bill states that productions filming in Hawaii need to hire cultural experts to certify that Hawaii’s environment and culture are respected during production. Filmmakers will also be required to provide a free advanced screening of the production to the public in the primary location of filming if over $8 million was spent on production.
Certain issues in the past have prompted this proposed legislation and lawmakers want to make certain that foreign filmmakers take care of Hawaii’s somewhat delicate ecosystem. The film industry reportedly brought in over $260 million to the Hawaii economy in 2016; a strong showing for one of the smallest states in country.
Lawmakers hope this bill will further encourage Hollywood to continue utilizing the islands, but also assure that native Hawaiians and the local economies reap the benefits as well. To help the community, productions must make a donation to a qualifying entity for educational or workforce development of the local production industry. Currently, the state offers a credit of 20% and 25% depending upon the island in which filming occurs. Hawaii hopes that its long standing attraction as an exotic location enhances and grows with the help of the film incentive program.