Georgia doled out a record $1.2 billion in film and TV tax credits last year, far surpassing the incentives offered by any other state.
The figure is 40% higher than the state’s previous record, $860 million, which was set in 2019, as the generous credit continues to fuel exponential growth of the industry. It also represents a significant rebound from 2020, when credits dropped to $649 million due to the pandemic.
The next two largest state tax incentives are in New York and California, where the programs are each capped at $420 million a year. Both states have budgets that are about 10 times the size of Georgia’s state budget.
Georgia’s investment in the entertainment industry represents about 4.5% of its state budget, or roughly what the state spends every year to address mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities.
The $1.2 billion figure was disclosed on Thursday by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. The figure reflects the 2021 fiscal year, which ended on June 30. In July, the state announced that TV and film productions had spent a record $4 billion in the state the prior fiscal year.
Marie Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, cautioned that the total credit allocation could be reduced if audits uncover expenditures that are not qualified. However, that figure would not become public due to taxpayer privacy laws, she said.
Georgia was among the first locations to reopen for production after the pandemic shutdown, helping to spur the growth of the industry.
“Seeing our beautiful state on-screen along with our iconic Georgia peach logo is good for tourism and other marketing efforts, ultimately making an even bigger impact on our economy,” said Pat Wilson, commission of the Department of Economic Development, in a release in July.
Recent productions in the state include “WandaVision,” “The Underground Railroad” and “Lovecraft Country.” See more at Variety.