Saturday, May 17, 2008

Georgia's New Tax Incentives for Entertainment

Short statement from me after all the emails I've gotten.

No. I didn't have anything to do with the new law giving major tax breaks to entertainment companies in Georgia. Please quit asking.

Okay, with that out of the way, if you hadn't heard, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue passed into a law giving up to a 30% tax break to entertainment business's. You might also have heard that I live in Georgia, so the new law is of major significance to me... if only for hoping that a business moves in that likes my writing enough to hire me outright... and allows me to keep living where I am.

Anyways, the basis of the law is that qualified entertainment productions get a 20% tax credit outright. A quick reading through the requirements to maintain qualification seems to exclude X rated products, so don't expect Double Z Studios to move in. Entertainment products that include an animated Georgia promotional logo can get another 10% tax credit.

What's interesting to me, as a video game reviewer, is that the video game industry was specifically singled out, not just once, but three different times in the Press release itself. In the email I received from Georgia.org, the coverage of Video Game productions was also specified in the headers announcing the press release. One of the quotes was especially interesting, this one:
Georgia will be the most competitive state in the country for video game productions.
Okay, big question... why? Well, outside of video game productions being one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing entertainment market, it's also important to remember something about which Entertainment Mega Conglomerate makes it's home in Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting. A quick overview of Turner Networks shows properties like GameTap, Cartoon Network / Boomerang, and Adult Swim. Little surprise then that TBS's Phillip Kent was on hand at the public announcement. Also little surprise why I wasn't.

So the next question is whether or not this was a good move for Georgia's Economy. Yes. The tax credits could make small time developers working on small down-loadable content for Xbox Live, Playstation 3, and Wii Ware profitable in a shorter time. The tax credits also open up job opportunities and may pave the way for larger publishers and developers to create full time development studios and offices near the worlds busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Something else to consider as a vantage point, and why Atlanta hosted E3 once, is that for multi-continental developers and publishers? Getting in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson is easy for those in Japan, California, and Europe.

So... what about the rest of Georgia? Sure, Atlanta is a clear benefit on it's own, but what about Augusta, Athens, Macon, and other cities. Long story short? Business's will go where there is land and cheap taxes. Columbia County should look really attractive then.
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