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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Gov. Nathan Deal talks movies, music tax breaks

Gov. Nathan Deal at the Atlanta Press Club. Photo by John Glenn

Gov. Nathan Deal at the Atlanta Press Club. Photo by John Glenn

Can the music industry expect tax credits like the ones people in the film and television industries enjoy?

A number of musicians, including Kristian Bush from Sugarland, have begun advocating for tax breaks for the music industry. Doesn’t sound like they should bank on it anytime soon.

“That’s something we will see some people exploring,” Gov. Nathan Deal said during remarks at Tuesday’s Atlanta Press Club luncheon at the Commerce Club downtown.

The governor’s remarks were a broad brush of the legislative session that just ended. It turns out that camera crews helped bring the session to a timely end.

“We had entered into a contract for a filming studio to film a TV series,” Deal said. “They literally moved in within hours of adjournment. Maybe we need to schedule those every year.”

The television project, called “Revolution,” is set in a post apocalyptic world where there are no more sources of energy. The filming folks told the governor that they need to test out some torches before things got cracking.

“Torches?” Deal quipped. “That’s pretty scary. It really truly was a frightening scene.”

For a good cause, though.

“We made you some money in the process,” Deal said. “That’s what we are trying to do, make sure we use your tax dollars wisely.”

Legislators this session did revisit the tax credits that, since originally passing in 2008, have lured a steady stream of projects here. Projects that film here will still get hefty tax breaks – but they have to promote Georgia more aggressively. (Here’s a link to a blog post my colleague Rodney Ho wrote about it during the session).

“We actually did make some changes, improved them,” Deal said. “We are going to get a more prominent display of the Georgia peach in the credits.”

While Deal did needle his audience at time, saying that “headlines that sensationalize our problems” work against the state’s economic interests, he did have some kind words for the scribes in the room.

“I want to thank the press for several things,” he said. “I want to thank most of you for using a fairly decent picture of me.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

One comment Add your comment

jd

April 18th, 2012
10:40 am

We created the legislature to make laws — and gave them a building where those laws can be created within the public view. The core business of the legislature is to make those laws, not to be a studio for television. One wonders whether the production company was charged the true cost of the time spent in the building given the risk to the structure and the risk to hurrying legislative business just to make an extra buck.