Utah’s rural economy boosted by passage of movie incentive bill – St George News

ST. GEORGE- Reviving Utah’s rural economy and preventing the loss of movie revenue to neighboring states was approved when the Legislature recently passed the Utah Film Incentives Bill.

1950s TV show Lone Ranger was filmed in southern Utah and new wire laws require production companies to hire locally to get the incentives, Kanab, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Kanab Film Commission, St. George News

The new legislation doubled current tax breaks and incentives for film and television production companies.

SB 49 exempts rural film productions from tax credit limits incentives offered up to the $12,000 cap. The bill is sponsored by Senator Ronald M. Winterton of Roosevelt and co-sponsored by Representative Steve Handy of Layton.

Production crews must hire locally and in Utah to get the incentives. According to Jeff Johnson, president of the Motion Picture Association of Utah, when big companies come in, they only get tax incentives based on local hires.

Passing the bill allows more long-running TV shows and movies to stay in Utah. Raising the cap increases Utah’s ability to attract and retain productions of television and film projects. He said Utah had recently lost shows such as Yellowstone and High School Musical.

According to Winterton, there were some compromises to ultimately get the bill passed. After two years, the legislator will reconsider the bill. Also, the amount of production in a rural county has been increased to 75%.

This historic photo shows a film set for Universal Studio’s musical “Can’t Help Singing” partially filmed near Kanab, Utah, 1943-1944 | Photo courtesy of Utah State Historical Society, St. George News

“We funded it at $12 million, and it wasn’t enough. Some members of the House wanted to make sure we stuck to that. Then the last thing they did was put in two yearstwilight review on this, to see it again,” Winterton said. “I think they’re comfortable with it, and I’m comfortable with it and I hate to see him surrounded again.”

Passing the bill means more long-term jobs, and Johnson said it’s great for the economy. This also helps prevent incentives from running out too early in the year. According to Johnson, the tax incentives to produce films were 25%, but the program would run out of money within months each year.

Kane County Film Commissioner Kelly Stowell agrees the bill will have a huge impact on the state.

“Utah has all the ingredients to become a premier film destination. The only question is whether or not the state will adopt policies that will make Utah competitive or will we continue to send jobs and investment to other states. said Stowell. “Production companies want to spend their money in Utah, and we should make it easier for them. Utah has turned down hundreds of millions of dollars from film and television projects. Other states continue to use film incentives that draw content producers away from Utah Utah must offer a competitive film incentive.

This movie incentive bill will encourage producers to consider rural counties first before looking elsewhere. Cash will be infused quickly and suppliers, hotels and restaurants will reap immediate benefits. Rural Utah can once again become a major player in cinema, Stowell said.

Historically, in the 1950s and 1960s, Kanab was the Mecca of Western cinema, notably the hits “Buffalo Bill” with Joel McCrea; “Pony Express” with Charlton Heston; and “Sergeants 3” with “Rat Pack” members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Television also favored the area during these decades, including “Death Valley Days”, “Have Gun-Will Travel”, “Daniel Boone”, “How the West Was Won” and, most notably, “Gunsmoke”, whose the home base was the Johnson Canyon Ensemble.

The last well-known Western films shot in the area were “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, which starred Clint Eastwood, in 1976, and Walt Disney’s western parody, “The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again”, in 1978, with the comedians Don Knotts and Tim. Conway.


Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2022 Utah Legislature here.

For a complete contact list of Southern Utah Representatives and Senators, Click here.


Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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