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Study shows film tax credit is a boon for Georgia

Nov. 10, 2023

When you invest money into something — whether it is something small like splitting a pizza with a friend or something much bigger such as investing thousands of dollars into a company — you want some return for your investment. You expect the pizza to taste good, and you expect your investment to lead to bigger profits down the line.

The General Assembly feels the same way about tax credits in the state. Legislators want to know that the tax credits have been a boon for the state instead of a bust.

The most scrutinized tax credit Georgia has is the one doled out to productions for movies and TV shows to film in the state. According to Capitol Beat News Service, the film tax credits amount to about $1 billion in lost state tax revenue each year. If the state is going to lose that much in potential tax revenue, it better be getting something for that lost revenue. A study from a consulting firm says the state is receiving a substantial return on its investment.

The study from Olsberg SPI shows that the tax film credit is responsible for creating nearly 60,000 jobs, according to Capitol Beat. For every dollar the state loses on taxes, it gains back $6.30, and the study showed that the tax credit generated $8.55 billion in economic impact in the 2022 fiscal year.

Some naysayers may argue that even without the tax credit, some films still would have been made in the state. The study refutes that notion, finding that less than 8% of Georgia’s film production activity would have happened without the tax credit.

The film tax credit’s impact has been felt in the Isles with several movies and TV shows shooting scenes in the area, especially over the last dozen years. Every part of Glynn County — Brunswick (“Live By Night” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), St. Simons Island (“Anchorman 2 and Doctor Sleep”) and Jekyll Island (“The Walking Dead” and the upcoming musical “The Color Purple”) — has benefited from having film crews use their locations for filming.

Last month, it was announced that an animation studio had purchased a large tract of land from the St. Marys Airport for a new studio. Among the reasons cited for moving to the coast was to take advantage of the state’s film tax credit.

The metric for success with state tax credits seems obvious — as long as its economic impact exceeds the lost tax revenue, it is worth the investment. The film tax credit has proven to be worth it for Georgia.

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