PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A big rally was held Friday in front of Gov. Tom Corbett’s office in downtown Pittsburgh.
Demonstrators are hoping that the governor will keep a special tax incentive in his budget. They say that incentive means jobs in Pittsburgh.
Next Tuesday, when Gov. Corbett presents his budget to the legislature, many who support movie-making in Pennsylvania are afraid that he will cut the film tax credit.
It is a special incentive the state began several years ago to lure Hollywood to the area. It’s worked and brought film-making and jobs to Pittsburgh.
However, that is now at risk and local film-making students say a lot more is at stake.
When students march in support of something as esoteric as a film tax credit, you really know something more is at stake.
“I’m in love with two things, film and the city of Pittsburgh,” said Benedict Baldauff, a native of Houston, Texas, at the rally.
Like many students marching downtown on Friday, Baldauff came to the city to study film at Point Park University and has already interned with a number of the Hollywood production crews shooting films in the area.
“I do not have a future in this wonderful city if this tax credit does not go through,” he said. “When the jobs leave, so must we.”
The tax credit is an incentive that jumped movie production in Pennsylvania from five a year to 27. Now though, Gov. Corbett, to balance his budget, is considering killing the tax credit and movie-making.
“It’s not just about us. It’s about the people here who work, and the local businesses we’re supporting by bringing these films here,” said Kallie Grove, a native of Baltimore.
Point Park professor Christopher Sepesy says without the tax credit, Pittsburgh will lose business this year.
“There are three possible films coming before the end of the summer, one of which would be the new ‘Batman’ film, and another television series,” said Sepesy.
“If it [the credit] leaves, I have to go with it, said Baldauff. “It’s part of life, [you’ve got to] go where the jobs are, and it’s going to break my heart to leave this city.”
Advocates of the film tax credit say it’s not just the young people who will leave; but hundreds of local jobs associated with movie-making, including lighting, transporting and feeding the crews.
So far, there is no word from Gov. Corbett on what he is going to recommend next Tuesday.