Industry members say it’d be ‘disastrous idea’ to sunset Georgia film tax incentives

ATLANTA — Georgia’s film and television production industry has become one of the leaders in the world, thanks to the state’s generous incentives and tax credits.

Despite the successes the industry has had in Georgia, some state lawmakers think it might be time to sunset the tax incentives available.

Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer learned that many people, including a music and film stalwart, say that’d be a disastrous idea.

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“We really strive to hang our hats on customer service, so you make life easier for the studios,” Matt Davis, of Reel Supplies, said. “You give them the supplies they need and then they build the sets, absolutely.”

He showed Channel 2 Action News around his East Point-based company, which he and his wife started two years ago.

“We sat and talked for hours when he finally told me he put in his two-week notice at the job he was working at,” Jamie Davis said. “It was like, game on, we’re starting.”


Reel Supplies provides the materials the big studios use to build their film and television sets. Now, with 14 employees and hiring more, it’s just one of thousands of examples of jobs created by Georgia’s decision to provide tax incentives for the people who make TV and film content.

The big incentives started 16 years ago with one man.

“So, I got some lobbyists in Georgia, and get it to Sonny Perdue and [said] ‘Hey man, we need a taxation credit here,’” Dallas Austin, a Columbus, Ga. native and film and music producer.

Austin is known for his work on films like ATL in 2006 and 2002′s Drumline, as well as producing for Grammy-winning superstars Boys 2 Men, TLC and Madonna.

“I didn’t even know how huge, I was just trying to get my movie made and thought, maybe we can tell some other Georgia stories,” Austin told Channel 2 Action News.

Austin said no one could have predicted the explosion of the industry in Georgia. Today, some of the biggest movies and television shows in the world are made in Georgia and the boom is credited with helping create close to 60,000 jobs.

“Did a lot with Black Panther, Guardians 3, Superman,” Matt Davis said.

Some critics say the big studios don’t need those tax incentives, but several economic studies show every dollar of tax incentive generates a return on investment of $6.30.

Furthermore, Austin said if the tax incentives dried up in Georgia, the productions would move to states like Texas that are now copying the Georgia tax incentive program.

“It’s great that it’s happened, as compared to the time before it existed, how many more jobs we’ve created here. I think we have to maintain and modify it enough to keep rockin’ and rollin’ with it, because it’s brought a significant amount of money into the state of Georgia, period,” Austin said.

Still Austin said there’s more room for the industry to grow.

“In the next 10 to 20 years, if you think about what’s happened here already, we’ll have the majority of market share with things that are shot out here in Georgia, that’s huge for the state, that’s huge for branding the state, that’s huge that’s something that’s legendary and something that will last for a long, long time,” Austin added.

For the entrepreneurial Davises, they’re supporting their own family and at least 14 others with their work in the industry.

“It’s a fun, fun business to be in,” Matt Davis said.

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