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Pa. Might Eliminate Film Tax Credit

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – "The Next Three Days" was one of three feature films shooting in the Pittsburgh area simultaneously in 2009.

Jake Gyllenhall and Anne Hathaway's "Love and other Drugs" and Denzel Washington's "Unstoppable" were the other two.

"People were talking about buying homes here that were from LA. They were actually looking over on the South Side," says Cassie Ross Eccles, a film worker and Secretary of IATSE Union Local 489.

"Southwestern Pennsylvania is always one of the locations that people look for because of our good crew base and out great locations and due to the film tax credit program," Jessica Conner, of the Pittsburgh Film Office, said.

But a lot of movie making might evaporate if Governor Tom Corbett cancels the state's film tax credit.

"If the tax goes away, the incentive goes away, they won't be here and we will not get that money," adds Eccles.

Over the past 20 years, the more than 100 films made here have pumped $565 million into the economy.
If the movie business dries up here, the loss goes beyond the film workers.

"We have thousands of vendors just here Pittsburgh as well as Philadelphia and all the spaces in between that we spend money on – astronomical amounts of money," says Mamie Stein, also of IATSE Union Local 489.

What about rumors that the Caped Crusader might come here to shoot "The Dark Knight Rises" in Pittsburgh?

A photo of the movie's director, Christopher Nolan, was reportedly snapped on Smithfield Street last Friday, but could we lose out because of that tax credit?

Not everyone is in favor of the film tax credit, especially in a tight budget.

In a statement, the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg says in part: "Pennsylvania's film tax credit isn't generating economic growth. The corporate welfare for Hollywood studios doesn't 'create' any jobs in Pennsylvania, but shifts economic activity from one area to another. Most importantly, a tax break for one industry requires higher taxes on everyone else."

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