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Film Advocate Says Ending Tax Credit Would Decimate Ohio's Film Industry

a photo of a scene from the filming of 'The Avengers' in Cleveland
'The Avengers' was filmed in Cleveland. Tax credits draw filmmakers to shoot in the region.

The Ohio House's version of the proposed state budget has put the $40 million per year film tax credit on the chopping block. With both progressive and conservative groups in favor of dropping the tax credit, Ohio's film industry is getting nervous.

If the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit goes away, Greater Cleveland Film Commission President Ivan Schwarz thinks local workers will pay the price.

"(Ohio's film industry) is straight-up manufacturing. It’s manufacturing 2019, but it’s manufacturing," Shwarz said. 

He compares axing the film tax credit to General Motors closing its production plant in Lordstown.

"Your friends, my friends, people working in your neighborhood, people living in your neighborhood, people shopping at your grocery store—those are the people who are making, helping make this product."

Schwarz points to the 5,800 full-time equivalent jobs the film industry has been responsible for since 2009 as reason enough not to just save the tax credit—but to expand it.

A separate house bill that’s been sitting in committee since March would more than double the tax credit to $100 million.

The House could vote on the proposed budget as soon as this week.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.