The following is a story I wrote for my Public Affairs Reporting class.

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A bill to establish the Iowa Film Production Incentive Program would offer qualifying film productions a rebate on their expenditures.

Why it matters: If approved, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) would distribute no more than $10 million in rebates to qualified film productions in the state. Productions that meet the IEDA’s list of criteria could receive a 30% rebate on a list of qualified expenditures, determined by the authority.

What they’re saying:
Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, the bill’s floor manager, said the state would see a reinvestment of $6-$9 for every dollar spent.

  • “The state will benefit in several ways, millions of dollars being spent during productions and the possibility of dollars spent years later with tourism– like Field of Dreams or Bridges of Madison County,” she said in an email.

Catch up fast: This is not the first time Iowa has incentivized film productions. In 2007, the film credit program was widely expanded and touted as “half-priced” filmmaking.

  • Scandal quickly followed as Iowa’s former film chief was charged with mishandling the film tax credits.
  • “I think we learned a lot from that and guardrails have been put in place to ensure proper substantiation and submission of expenses to the IEDA,” said Bloomingdale.

What’s next: On Thursday, the bill was placed on the Ways and Means Committee’s calendar.