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Push to increase CT’s tax credit for movies, TV in spotlight

Chair 10 Productions moved from Los Angeles to Newtown during the pandemic and wants to bring more of Hollywood with them. That push has the state’s film tax credit now in the spotlight.

Marissa Alter

Feb 13, 2023, 11:17 PM

Updated 493 days ago

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In the past year, you’ve likely caught a glimpse of Connecticut in Netflix movies such as “The Good Nurse,” “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” and “The Noel Diaries.” Now there’s an effort to get more TV and film productions to choose the state as home.
“I think the biggest problem right now that we're struggling with is competition,” said Jonathan Black, who owns Chair 10 Productions with his wife. They moved from Los Angeles to Newtown during the pandemic and want to bring more of Hollywood with them. That push has the state’s film tax credit now in the spotlight.
“We have a decent credit. I think it's good, but I think it could be much much better,” Black told News 12.
Connecticut's is 30%, but Black explained the state is losing a lot of business to places like New Jersey, which is at 40%. He's proposed introducing additional tax credits on top of the 30% for things like hiring local and minority workers and choosing a city or town that needs economic development. A production taking advantage of every bonus could get up to a 37% tax credit.
“We're making sure that productions have to earn that extra percentage,” Black said.
State Rep. Joe Gresko, of Stratford, is among the lawmakers asking his colleagues to consider tweaking the existing law to go over the 30% threshold.
“There's some that say the state doesn't get a real bang for the buck for doing this. It's more focused on the municipal level with crews coming in, with workers locally coming in, the crews use the hotels, the restaurants, the dry cleaners, but the state doesn't really see much of that. And my reaction is, ‘So?’” Gresko told News 12.
Gresko said with the state’s budget in the black, now is the time to put Connecticut back in contention for these big projects.
“The adage is you have to spend money to make money. I’d like to give them a little bit of an extra tax break so we can get these productions back here in the state so that we can make some money, our residents can make some money on productions, our municipalities can reap the benefit,” Gresko said.
Recent Netflix movies shot in Fairfield County have brought temporary boosts to local businesses. Black's hope is to get more sustainable productions.
“Say like an HBO or a Hulu would come in with a TV show. Maybe some of the big Netflix movies would come here and do two or three. Our entire plan is to have anywhere from 10-12 films a year and two television shows filming at the same time,” Black explained.
Along with raising the tax credit, Black said Connecticut needs a soundstage to lure business. Right now, there aren’t any in the state.
“That’s a brick-and-mortar solid infrastructure foundation that we're trying to build and create here. HBO for example might come here and shoot a massive TV series if they had sound stages. That's a thing the state is lacking right now that we're also trying to push forward,” Black said.
He told News 12 he's looking at the old Fairway Grocery Store in Stamford as a location for one.


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