Randy Yohe Published

Film Tax Credit Bill Overwhelmingly Passes House, May Signal Return Of Repealed Law


Movie makers may be returning to the Mountain State if they can get a break on their taxes. A bill that brings those breaks back is gaining legislative traction.

West Virginia’s Film Investment Tax Credit was repealed in 2018. Del. Dianna Graves, D-Kanawha, admits the previous law was bad, had loopholes, inconsistencies and did not provide a positive state return on investment. The lead sponsor of House Bill 2096, Graves said the new bill fixes what was broken, and more.

“The cap was too low. In fact, that was included in the audit done on that,” Graves said. “So we’ve raised the cap, and we’ve strengthened the audit procedures to make sure that it’s dollars spent here that’s going to generate a return.”

The new bill offers $10 million annually in film tax credits, and moves administration from tourism to economic development. That’s a move that makes good sense to bill supporter Del. Chad Lovejoy, D-Cabell.

“We need to diversify our economic strategies,” Lovejoy said. “And this is one more tool in the toolbox. We want to bring businesses to West Virginia and help our people participate in filmmaking.”

Del. Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, voted against the film tax credit. Steele was concerned the bill still lacked adequate safeguards, and said it should not be a legislative priority.

“Back home in Raleigh County, you know, they’re not filmmakers,” Steele said. “They own small businesses, they’re paying a lot of B&O tax, they have local use taxes on them.”

Every West Virginia border state offers a film tax credit. Graves says there are filmmakers knocking at the door – ready to say lights, camera, action in the Mountain State.

“I want this money to come to West Virginia,” Graves said. “I want heads in beds for hotels, I want catering. I want construction. I want all of that. Industry drivers. I want them here in West Virginia. Spend your money with us.”

The Film Tax Credit bill passed the house 87 to 11 and is now in the Senate Finance Committee.