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Ohio tax credit for filmmakers still on lawmakers’ agenda

From Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wed, Jan 21, 2009

Columbus- Lawmakers from both parties aren’t ready to yell “cut!” to the idea of a tax credit for companies that film movies in Cleveland and other spots around the Buckeye State.

On the heels of Gov. Ted Strickland’s veto of the 25 percent tax credit last month, Sen. Tom Patton, a Strongsville Republican, announced plans to push forward again with the legislation this session.

I am willing to work with the governor, but we can’t afford to miss opportunities for new jobs,” said Patton in a statement. “Rather than waiting until July, we need to put this tool in our arsenal now and plan accordingly to cover this investment in jobs.”

Senate President Bill Harris, an Ashland Republican who holds a 21-12 edge in the chamber, was also quoted in the release, calling the film tax credit a “top priority” for his caucus.

When Strickland vetoed the measure, he said that the discussion on the tax break shouldn’t take place outside of his next two-year state operating budget. The Democratic governor also criticized the credit for being transferable among companies, saying that it added greatly to the administrative costs.

Meanwhile, Ivan Schwarz, head of the Cleveland Film Commission, said last week that he has had several sitdowns recently with top Democrats, including Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and House Speaker Armond Budish, a Beachwood Democrat.

They reached out to me,” said Schwarz, who said he was optimistic that a deal could be struck to bring the tax credit plan to Ohio.

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