SB49 could lure more film projects to Utah
SALT LAKE CENTER – Actor Kevin Coster has thrown his support behind a bill in the current legislative session that would provide a better incentive to bring film projects to Utah.
Kostner is planning to film five movies here but he has said he will film somewhere else unless SB49 is approved.
SB49 has already cleared the Senate and is now making its way through the house.
Utah has seen lights, camera, and action for almost a hundred years.
“John Ford and John Wayne came and really fell in love with Southern Utah,” said Virginia Pear, President of the Utah Film Commission. “That era of westerns led to Robert Redford and helped get ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ here. “
The Film Commission debuted in 1969. Since then, some iconic movies like “Thelma and Louise”, “The Sandlot”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and “Dumb and Dumber” have been shot across the Beehive State.
Pearce has witnessed the motion picture industry expand and said the creation of the tax incentive program in 2012 helped draw in more business.
“A lot of states around the country started thinking I want some of California’s market share, and they started offering incentives,” she said.
Utah’s tax incentive reimbursed projects if they hired Utahns and spent money locally.
Pearce said the Kevin Kostner series “Yellowstone” was great for Utah.
But the series turned to film full-time in Montana because Utah’s program couldn’t support season four.
“Yeah, it was disappointing to see them go,” Pearce said.
People noticed, which led Sen. Ron Winterson to create SB49 that would lift a cap on the tax incentive program for film projects.
There are 33 states with tax incentive programs and 11 that don’t have a cap for the amount that can be reimbursed.
“It’s not just about sales tax receipts, it is about that but it’s also about employing our locals,” said Shawn Milne from the Rural Utah Film Coalition.
Film projects make a big difference in rural economies.
Milne said, “For every one dollar we invest in the film industry in Utah there is a net investment of seven dollars that come back in.”
There is an opportunity to expand the film industry in Utah with this bill and the commission said it would give Utah a more competitive edge.
“We have great locations, close to LA, an easy place to get around. But sort of the fourth leg of the stool is the incentive program,” Pearce said.
The 2022 Legislative Session ends on March 4.
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