Will there ever be tax incentives for Phoenix Video Production?

By | Published February 25th, 2015 | in FILMMAKING

Will there ever be tax incentives for Phoenix Video Production?

Shooting a film, TV show, or commercial can be expensive. But lucky for you, your state governments deliver specific tax incentives that bolster your budget.

Unfortunately, those incentives do not exist in Arizona right now.

There is no doubt about it, the weather in Phoenix is amazing and the topographical spectrum offered throughout the entire state of Arizona has been the backdrop in several of your favorite movies.

Filmmaking in the desert has come a very long way in the political world. A strong community continues to push hard for production tax incentives to the valleys media professionals. 

This hasn’t stopped movies from using Arizona for a few scenes here or there. Or in some rare cases, entire movies are being filmed here. But the power that one bill has for the Arizona economy, would certainly entice production companies to start looking at the desert as a potential location for motion picture development. 

What is a Movie Production Incentive?

States like Louisiana, New Mexico and Utah have decided to opt into Movie Production Incentives and have been very happy with the outcome…

What are the benefits for Arizona?

“In Louisiana, for instance, after the production incentive bill was passed in 2005, the industry grew from supporting 5,437 jobs and having $7.5 million in output in 2003 to supporting 18,882 jobs and producing $343.8 million in output in 2005.”

There is clearly an economic boost for the surrounding areas that movies are produced in. It makes most sense for production companies to hire local professionals for large portions of the movie production. 

Catering is usually top notch for the film cast and crew. This alone can bring an incredible amount of revenue to the local restaurant and lodging industries. 

“The use of tax incentives and credits for film and television production is a relatively recent phenomenon as the number of states offering film production incentives grew from just a handful in the early 2000s to a majority of states by 2010. Currently thirty-nine states and Puerto Rico have film production incentive on their books for 2014.”

Wow!! — I might have to restate that one. “Currently thirty-nine states AND PUERTO RICO have film production incentives on their books for 2014!”

Will there ever be tax incentives for Phoenix Video Production?

I think it is time that Arizona, and their old school politicians put the pros and the cons out there and give us a reason why they continue to turn away thousands if not millions of dollars to our local economy each year. 

Phil Bradstock, the Film Commissioner with the city of Phoenix had this to say: 

“The state had a film tax incentive program from 2006 to 2010 and it provided a transferable tax credit to production companies…It provided, at the time, a percentage back upon the qualified expenditure…it’s kind of like, if you have a tax refund and you do your personal income taxes at the end of the year and you realize you paid the government more, then you’ll get a tax refund back.”


Overlooked in 2019… AGAIN!

Here are the two bills created for Video Production Phoenix tax incentives in 2014. Similar bills have been pushed since then, but none have passed. 

This information was provided by the Arizona Production Association exactly in February of 2014. They continue to support the needs of filmmaking in the desert by offering a trusted resource about the local Phoenix Video Production community. 

SB1098 – Reinstating a Governor’s Film and Media Office

Why do we need a Governor’s Office of Film and Media to attract and facilitate film, television and commercial video production?

Here are 10 Reasons dated on 01-24-2014 from the Tucson Stage Blog:

  1. Tells a 175 billion dollar Industry that Arizona is “Open for Business”  [MPAA.org]
  2. Brings more high wage jobs for an existing workforce
  3. Spreads Economic Impact in urban and rural communities across the state
  4. Brings new Tax Revenues
  5. Small, local businesses benefit
  6. Tourism increases
  7. Offers training and networking opportunities for Media students at state schools
  8. Film + TV production business is both clean and recession proof
  9. The Industry is our neighbor and wants to be here
  10. Helps to revive Arizona’s film legacy

HB2660 – Multimedia Production Incentive Bill 

“Despite all of the special tax cuts and subsidies passed at the legislature over the years, there was one program that our elected officials wisely eliminated in 2010—the Film Production Movie Tax Credit. This particular program was a proven waste of taxpayer money and nothing but corporate welfare for Hollywood movie producers.” 


These guys sound old school in my opinion and obviously have ZERO knowledge on how %95 of the motion picture industry works, real people with real jobs. Read more of their ridiculous statements here.

I mean what do Hollywood movie producers have anything to do with boosting our state economy? They are 1 extravagant worker on set. Every industry has them, not just the Movie Production industry. We are a long way away from Hollywood out here in the Desert, and this digital age doesn’t stand for old school know it alls. That is just not how business is done anymore.

Still going!

With or without the incentives, local video professionals have still found ways to make money and be quite successful. 

Waiting around all year for the few “industry” gigs that come through, there is a huge community of striving independent filmmakers and corporate video producers located in Phoenix, Arizona. 

There are even a few companies that work on features constantly. Thanks to the digital age of communication and technologies, success is dependent on finding a niche market for whatever your video services may be. 

There has been a huge increase in the video production Phoenix, Arizona market over the last few years. With the rise of new producers meeting the demand of creative video content, this local community is ready to offer our beautiful state to more motion picture productions. 

We need support from the AZ State Representatives to write a bill that is comparable to Louisiana or New Mexico. This will allow traveling production companies to film in Arizona more, along with allowing investors to actually vision a possible return on investment with producing an entire movie in the valley. 

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About The Author:

John Schaus


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