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Idaho Legislature Aims to Lure More Movie Production

"The film industry makes a ton of sense for Idaho to support."


"Show me the money," shouted Oscar-winning Cuba Gooding Jr. in 1996's Jerry McGuire. Hollywood and money have long been indelibly linked, from box office receipts to seven-figure salaries.

And Idaho wants to show the movie industry some of that money, in its renewed attempt to lure more television and feature film productions to the Gem State.

"The film industry makes a ton of sense for Idaho to support," said Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. "Audi just filmed a big commercial with an automobile jumping over a Magic Valley canyon. We have great relationships with the U.S. Forest Service to permit filming in our great outdoors. But the one piece we think is missing is a tax incentive."

Sayer is helping to push an extension of House Bill 498 to the year 2040, which would kick back as much as 20 percent on specific Idaho expenditures if at least $200,000 was spent in Idaho and if the production hires Idahoans as 35 percent of its total crew. The maximum rebate per production would be $500,000.

"When they finish their production, they will have already spent their money," said Post Falls Rep. Frank Henderson, sponsor of the bill. "There's no pre-rebate. The money would go to them after the fact."

Sayer estimated "over $300 million in prospective film projects have looked at Idaho" recently, many of them shopping for business incentives before deciding where to shoot.

The early reviews for HB 498 have been, for the most part, positive. The Idaho House voted 49-15 on February 21 to approve the measure.

Henderson will now have to shepherd the bill before the Idaho Senate where it will first appear before the Commerce and Human Resources Committee.