2019 Bills

SB 171: More Cash Rebates and Tax Credits for the Film Industry

This bill failed in the House, 34-34. 

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and should be opposed.

Filmmakers that produce t.v. shows and movies in Utah can receive an aggregate amount of up to $6,793,700 in tax credits every year. Senator Daniel Thatcher would like to increase that amount to $12,000,000 with his sponsorship of Senate Bill 171. In addition to the tax incentive increase, the bill would also expand the ability of filmmakers to receive these tax breaks for post-production film work.

The concept of the bill is to encourage and attract filmmakers to do their work in Utah in order to continue economic growth while providing local jobs. That may sound great in theory, but in reality, post production film work typically involves a smaller number of individuals working on computers in an office. This isn’t something that would create hundreds of jobs for Utahn’s—so is it fair policy to give thousands or even millions of dollars in tax breaks to a billion-dollar film industry? Probably not. Local computer-based companies must pay their fair share in taxes, and so should film companies.

This bill is not a new piece of legislation. In fact, just last year in 2018, a similar bill failed to pass through the legislature.

From deserts to mountains, Utah is a uniquely beautiful state with vast diversity in the landscape. This alone acts as a great incentive for filmmakers to bring their business to our great state—without unfair tax waivers.