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Approval of 2-year Ohio budget extends state's motion picture tax credit

"We now have an opportunity to make Ohio a global destination for film and theater," the Greater Cleveland Film Commission said.
Credit: Ryan Haidet, WKYC-TV
File photo: This picture captures an action-packed day on the set along East 9th Street as Marvel took over downtown Cleveland to film the first 'Avengers' movie in August 2011.

On Wednesday, the general assembly down in Columbus finally passed Ohio's 2-year, $69 billion operating budget that was officially approved with Gov. Mike DeWine's signature the following day.

The agreement comes more than two weeks after the original deadline, as Republicans (including Gov. Mike DeWine) ran into disagreements on things like education and health care policy. Highlights include a 4% personal income tax cut, a ban on state takeovers of poor-performing school districts, and $172 million for a new "H2Ohio" water quality initiative.

However, one big portion of the budget is the extension of the state's motion picture tax credit, which offers up to 30 percent rebates for production cast and crew wages and other in-state spending. The measure had been in jeopardy, with some lawmakers and citizens doubting its value to the state.

Ohio's filming organizations fought back, though, claiming the tax credit has created thousands of jobs and brought roughly 150 film projects to Northeast Ohio alone. Ivan Schwarz of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission was among those who testified in Columbus before the Senate Finance Committee on fighting in favor of the credit.

Today, the film commission celebrated the extension of the credit, thanking lawmakers and sounding optimism about the future of movies and television in the state.

"We now have an opportunity to make Ohio a global destination for film and theater," the commission said in a statement. "We look forward to collaborating with the Governor and legislature on expanding the tax incentive even further so that we can build a sustainable and permanent industry here in Ohio."