Lawmakers consider cuts to Minnesota's film incentive program

- When Hollywood calls Minnesota, what does one say?

The answer is tricky of late, as lawmakers fight over the budget, including future funding for the Minnesota Film and TV Board, as well as Snowbate—the rebate provided to those producing films in Minnesota.

“It makes it tougher for us to do our jobs when we don’t have consistency,” said Lucinda Winter, the executive director of the Minnesota Film and TV board, which oversees the rebate program.

Winter says she hopes leaders keep funding at current levels, including $1.5 million each year for Snowbate.

“We’re really starting to become an entity that is known on the east and west coasts,” Winter said. “It’s very valuable to be seen on screens now. It creates culture relevance that I think is terribly difficult to measure, but is very important.”

Winter also points to areas that are easy to measure, including $90 million in private spending in Minnesota, including wages, jobs and income tax.

A 2015 auditor’s report noted inconsistent funding for the program and "found the Legislature’s level and pattern of funding the film production jobs program may interfere with the board’s ability to attract films to the state.”

34 states have film incentive programs--with Georgia boasting the most generous of the bunch. 

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