A big film industry investment is set to come to Camden County. Pigmental Studios will build a $200 million studio complex at what used to be the St. Marys Airport.

That is no small investment and will likely have a ripple effect into Glynn and other nearby counties.

So why did Pigmental choose Camden for its new studio? When news first broke about the new studio in October, James Coughlin, the executive director of the Camden County Joint Development Authority, told The News the state’s film tax credit incentives played a big role in the decision. The same film tax credit came under fire in this year’s General Assembly session.

Since the film tax credit went into effect in Georgia in 2008, the industry has seen a rapid growth in the state. According to Capitol Beat News Service, the industry generated just $300 million in direct economic impact in 2007 to generating billions of dollars in economic impact in recent years.

That, by any measure, would be considered a success. State lawmakers, though, can’t help themselves and want to tinker with something that is already working. That led to the passage of House Bill 1180, which sought to make significant changes to the way the film tax credit that the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, said would give “taxpayers of Georgia the best value for their bucks.”

The bill and Carpenter’s comments imply that the film tax credit isn’t providing enough value, but they haven’t produced any evidence to prove that other than vague platitudes that taxpayers will benefit. Maybe they haven’t produced any because a study released in late 2023 shows the opposite.

A study by Olsberg SPI found that the $1 billion in tax breaks for the film industry has led to the industry generating $8.55 billion in economic impact in the 2022 fiscal year, along with creating 60,000 jobs and producing a return of investment of $6.30 for every dollar of lost tax revenue. Contrary to Carpenter’s opinion, the evidence shows taxpayers are already getting incredible value for their bucks.

Thankfully the house bill never made it to the floor in the Senate, so the film tax credit will continue to remain in its successful form. When the 2025 General Assembly comes around, hopefully legislators will work to solve actual problems in the state instead of creating new problems for one of the state’s most valuable industries.

Article via The Brunswick News