In the end, the work of intense lobbying to preserve a tax credit that rings very true to Richland County had a positive outcome, with the passage and signing of Ohio’s new biennial budget.
Included in that measure was renewal of the $40 million Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit. That financial incentive has drawn film production to Ohio since it was first adopted in 2009.
Earlier this year, the Ohio House of Representatives eliminated the tax credit in their budget bill, following the lead of their counterparts in Michigan and West Virginia. At this point, a number of local and statewide organizations joined to send the message to the Ohio General Assembly that the credit was an important one.
These expressions of support were matched by letter writing campaigns and work by local film commissions.
Proponents of the tax pointed to the fact that the Motion Picture Tax Credit is responsible for 6,000 jobs across Ohio. The credit can be taken against commercial activity tax, income tax, or financial institutions tax. They also stated that three separate economic studies focused on Ohio have concluded that for every dollar placed into the program, the state sees a $1.90 return.
Of course, over the last three decades, particularly since the redevelopment of the former Ohio State Reformatory, movies have become big business in Mansfield and north central Ohio. The Shawshank Redemption continues to generate attention and local tourism revenue 25 years after its release.
Legislators heard the response, and the Ohio Senate voted 33-0 to include the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit in the budget, after which it survived the conference committee process and was signed into law by Governor DeWine. That shared, the “new” version features an emphasis on post-production, promotional costs, and live theatre,