The Lights, Camera, Jobs Plan

Virginia is one of 40 states/territories that utilize incentives for film and television projects, and it’s easy to see why. A single production can bring hundreds of lucrative, highly-skilled jobs to a region – from set-builders to electricians to truck drivers.

But when compared to other states jockeying for the same economic development projects, Virginia has fallen behind. In recent years, many of our counterparts have strengthened their incentives to diversify their economies with recession-proof jobs as states emerge from the pandemic. While Georgia, North Carolina, and West Virginia adapt to a changing marketplace, Virginia remains relatively stagnant. It’s time to change that.

The LIGHTS, CAMERA, JOBS PLAN is a combination of legislation and budget amendments to take a new approach to make Virginia more economically competitive.

  1. HB1767 and House Budget Item 113 #1h (Reid/Davis) make Virginia’s existing incentives comparable to other states in the region.

    These bipartisan proposals raise the annual spending cap of Virginia’s Motion Picture Tax Credit program to $10M and Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund grant program to $15M respectively, putting Virginia on par with states like Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Senate Budget Item 113 #1s is identical.

  2. SB937 (Hashmi) creates a year-round pipeline of industry jobs by prioritizing television.

    This bill creates the Television Production Development Grant Program and Fund for up to $25M annually. Data indicates that episodic or limited television projects have a greater impact on state economies, because they hire local employees for longer periods of time, and some are specifically designed to return year after year. This is intended to create a marketplace for year-round production in Virginia. The corresponding budget amendment is Senate Item 113 #7s.

  3. Senate Budget Item 126 #1s will better train and retain Virginia’s creative workforce.

    This proposal explores the expansion of the Virginia Film Office Workforce Development Initiative via the Virginia Community College Workforce Alliance for creative workforce training, certifications, and apprenticeships. Too many of our industry workers – many of whom went to school or received training in Virginia – are leaving to work where a career is more feasible. This aims to keep our workforce right here at home.

  4. HB2376 (Glass) creates new opportunities for independent filmmakers and content creators.

    This bill creates the Virginia Creative Economy Grant Fund via the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. This program will award up to $20,000 to fund creative entrepreneurs working to develop and expand the creative economy in Virginia. The corresponding budget amendment is House Item 125 #2h.

It has been 13 years since significant changes were made to bolster Virginia’s film incentive programs, when then-Governor Bob McDonnell (R) signed a bill with broad bipartisan support. Write to your lawmaker today. Tell them it’s time to take a new approach and turn short-term industry jobs into full-fledged careers. It’s time for LIGHTS, CAMERA, JOBS!

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