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May 31, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich's landmark film legislation renewed; Legislation responsible for creating thousands of jobs for state’s economy

SPRINGFIELD – In another effort to continue the revitalization of the Illinois film industry, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced he will sign Senate Bill 1965, which would renew the film tax incentive legislation that has proven to be instrumental in bringing major film and television projects back to Illinois.  SB 1965 passed overwhelmingly in the House today and passed almost unanimously in the Senate in April. 
Due in large part to the legislation, projects filmed in Illinois generated $77 million in 2004, which is a 200 percent increase in just one year, and created nearly 15,000 jobs.  Several major motion pictures were filmed throughout the state in 2004, including The Weather Man (Paramount), Ice Harvest (Universal), Ocean’s 12 and the latest Batman film (Warner Brothers), Derailed (Miramax) and Roll Bounce (20th Century Fox), as well as many other independent film and television projects.
“The film tax credit legislation has propelled Illinois back into the bright lights, once again making our state one of the premier locations in the world for major productions.  During the first full year this legislation was in effect, we saw film revenues soar by 200 percent.  We’ve always had the locations, local talent and expertise to compete with any other location as a top-flight destination for motion picture and television production.  Thanks to the leadership on both sides of the aisle, the General Assembly has once again passed this landmark legislation.  While the film industry is proving to be a real force of growth in the Illinois economy, we’re only scratching the surface of its enormous potential,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
State Senator Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) and State Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) sponsored SB 1965.
   The film tax credit legislation was first enacted in August of 2003 when Gov. Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 785, which created the tax incentive designed to attract the film industry back to Illinois.  The law provides a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the wages paid to Illinois residents working on television and film projects shot in Illinois.  In order to qualify, productions of 30 minutes or more will have to spend at least $100,000 on Illinois labor.  Other, shorter film productions may also qualify for the incentive.
   SB 1965 was the product of unprecedented discussion and cooperation involving the film production industry on the national and local levels, organized labor and frontline workers involved in Illinois film production.  In addition to extending the film tax credit for another year, SB 1965 contains provisions making the credit easier to use and encouraging the hiring of Illinois workers from high unemployment areas.  
   “In a very short time, the tax credit legislation has proven that the Illinois film industry can act as a major engine of economic growth in our state.  By passing this legislation, we’re not only opening the door to more vigorous job growth and new investment, but helping fuel a more diversified, vibrant statewide economy.   Gov. Blagojevich and I believe that by continuing to work together, there is no doubt we will continue building on Illinois’ tremendous success in 2004,” State Senator Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) said.                  
“The film industry’s economic impact is undeniable.  Thanks to our strong commitment to creating a competitive economic playing field, renewing this legislation will help the Illinois film industry continue to thrive.  Gov. Blagojevich and I will continue working aggressively to promote our tax incentives and ensure that even more projects will be filmed here this year,” State Representative Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) said.    
   “Gov. Blagojevich understands how important the film production industry is for the Illinois economy, and the thousands and thousands of hardworking and talented men and women who play integral roles in helping it thrive.  The tax incentive legislation is a crucial tool in bringing job opportunities to our local industry talent and, by renewing this legislation, we’re ensuring that those workers can continue to call Illinois home, ” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin said.


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