Senate passes bill adding actors to film incentives


When the Illinois Assembly reconvenes again in late fall, one of the legislative actions under consideration will be the passage of Senate Bill 1816, which could immediately catapult Illinois into a higher tier of film production.

SB 1816 amends the existing Illinois Film Tax credit by expanding the credit to include onscreen talent labor expenditures.  It passed by a vote of 47-6 during the Illinois Legislature’s spring session.

SB 1816 is intended specifically for actors working in front of the camera in Illinois and does not contain state residency requirements.  The bill caps the salary that can be applied towards a credit at $1 million per actor, explained Jeff Crabtree, president of the Illinois Production Alliance.

The proposed above-the-line credit differs from the current below-the-line 30% tax credit, which applies specifically to Illinois resident labor, Crabtree clarified.

Hope for House vote in fall legislative session

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) introduced the bill in the Senate last spring and was a key proponent in ensuring its passage out of the Senate.  The bill is now awaiting final action in the House where state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) is the bill’s sponsor.

The Illinois House could consider a vote on the bill during its two-week fall veto session. “We will make every effort to urge the passage of Senate Bill 1816 when the legislature reconvenes,” Crabtree said.

“Our success boils down to how effectively we can carry the message to Springfield about being competitive with other states with film incentives.  Our state’s film incentives have demonstrated their value year after year, with record amounts of entertainment projects shooting here.”

He credits a large number of IPA members for helping to get the word out to legislators about the revised incentive’s value to the state.

This year’s unprecedented production business could surpass — or even double — 2012’s record $184 million film revenues.  The local economy immediately benefits from a “trickle down” factor of 2.5% of film “spend” in the state.  The ability to add jobs and revenue to bolster local economies is why many states vigorously seek film production.

The IPA is credited in helping the passage of both the original 20% tax credit and the subsequent hike to 30%.  An above-the-line incentive would kick Illinois to a higher ranking among film states.