Governor Martin O'Malley today visited the set of the Emmy award-winning HBO series, VEEP, to highlight the progress of the Maryland Film Tax credit expansion and its positive impact on Maryland's economy. The expansion includes an increase of $17.5 million in credits in the FY14 budget. The film tax credit has also provided 2,500 Maryland crew members, cast, and extras with full-time jobs and utilized a combined 6,000 Maryland businesses since the program went into effect in 2011.
"Maryland's thriving economy continues to grow the ranks of the middle class, and to date, we've recovered 97 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession," said Governor O'Malley. "Working together with our forward-looking colleagues in the General Assembly, we've not only expanded tax credits for quality television shows like VEEP, we've created more job opportunities for more Marylanders."
Sheila E. Hixson, chair of the committee that oversees tax credits in the Maryland House of Delegates remarked, "I'm excited that the Maryland Film Tax Credit has attracted successful productions like VEEP. It's put Maryland on the national map as a state ready, willing and able to work with Hollywood studios, and created a boom for Maryland's film industry."
The visit included a tour of the 60,000 foot sound stage located in Columbia, MD. Governor O'Malley was also joined by small business vendors who've benefited from the tax credit.
Byran Koerber, President of Budeke Paints, Inc., a fifth generation, family-owned Maryland paint and painting supply business stated, "The impact that an on-going movie or television production has on us is immense. We have reinvested in our company and our staff because of highly-recognizable projects like VEEP and House of Cards."
Lauri and Leroy Dixon, owners of Party Plus, a small Maryland business that provides tents, tables and chairs to productions said, "These productions allow us to remain profitable and continue the gainful employment of our staff. Quite frankly, without the work that they provide, our profit would be non-existent and our ability to continue would be hampered to say the least."
The estimated economic impact of the Maryland Film Tax Credit is $226 million. VEEP's first season had an estimated impact of $30 million, with 978 Marylanders hired as crew, cast, extras. Additionally, close to 1,200 Maryland businesses and vendors saw purchases and rentals from the production.
As of the summer of 2013, Maryland created jobs faster than any other state in the region and at the fifth fastest rate in the nation. Maryland's vibrant private sector continues to drive economic growth, creating nine out of every 10 new Maryland jobs. Working alongside Maryland's growing businesses, the unemployment rate has plummeted to a four-year low, spurring the recovery of 97 percent of the jobs lost during the economic downturn.
Maryland's economic progress has received national recognition. Maryland is among the five states best positioned to succeed in the new economy according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. In April, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranked Maryland #1 for entrepreneurship and innovation for the second year in a row and among the top ten for economic performance for the fourth year in a row. The Milken Institute ranks Maryland #1 in research and development per capita and #2 for science and technology assets. The non-partisan group The States Project placed Maryland second for economic opportunity. And last year, Maryland entrepreneurs rated the state fourth in the nation for startups per capita according to a study by Fast Company.