Maryland lawmakers debate tax credits for 'House of Cards'

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland gave tax credits for incentives to production companies to film in the state. Several films were shot locally before the credits went away.

Then, movie production went elsewhere before tax credits came back. Now, that the state is thinking of restricting tax incentives, a real life drama is being played out in Annapolis, with Netflix series “House of Cards playing a starring role.

RELATED: POLL: Should "House of Cards" receive additional tax credits from Maryland?

“House of Cards” is a Netflix dramatic series shot right here in Maryland. That production brings in millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to the local economy.

But, maybe a bigger drama is happening right here on the floor of the House of Delegates.

“House of Cards” is asking for a tax break for the filming of the third season in the range of $20 million. That number has dropped down to $7.5 million. That prompted the producers to throw out an ultimatum that if more tax incentives are not given they will pull the production and move out of Maryland.

That prompted Del. Bill Frick (D-Montgomery County) to propose an amendment that if any company receives $ 10 million or more from the state and pulls out, the state can declare eminent domain on the sets and equipment.

“That felt like a pretty strong armed response and we felt we should respond in kind,” Frick said.

The Senate has approved $18.5 million to go toward tax subsidies for production to “House of Cards.”

“It brings in all kinds of money.... even when they aren't filming,” said Del. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City).

Branch is getting e-mails from people in Los Angeles that are anxious and waiting on Maryland to make a decision so they can come back to the state and work.

“I have one friend now in California filming waiting to hear what’s going to happen here for next season,” Branch said.

Others lawmakers are more cautious with government tax breaks.

“We are having to reduce spending in all kinds of places and this is one of the ways the governor has decided to reduce spending,” said Del. Kumar Barve (D-Montgomery County)

A hearing was held on the subject today. Lawmakers will have to make a decision by Monday, the last day of the session.


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