PHOENIX (AP) - The state Senate voted Thursday to create up to $150 million in state tax credits to lure producers to make movies and television shows in Arizona.
The measure was approved with bipartisan support from lawmakers who said it would create jobs for people working directly on productions as well as the hotels, restaurants and other local businesses that support them.
"We’re missing a lot of really good economic activity and support and exposure for our tourism industry" by not offering tax credits to film producers, said Sen. Lela Alston, a Phoenix Democrat who supported the bill.
Film tax credits have become increasing popular in states looking to lure film producers from California. Supporters of creating an Arizona tax credit say it’s hard to compete for lucrative productions against states with generous tax credits.
Several Republican critics said the bill was an unnecessary giveaway to Hollywood production companies.
"You’re taking government funds and you’re cutting a check to Hollywood, people who certainly are out of touch with the average citizen," said Sen. Warren Petersen, a Gilbert Republican who voted against the bill.
The proposed Arizona tax credit would be fully refundable, meaning film producers could collect a tax refund even if they don’t owe any taxes to the state.
The measure cleared the Senate in a 21-7 vote and goes next to the House.
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