‘House of Cards’ Producer Sends Threat to Governor of Maryland

Feb 21, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The production company behind the acclaimed Netflix drama series "House of Cards" isn’t exactly on the best terms with the governor of the state where the show has been filming, The Washington Post reports.

"A few weeks before Season 2 of ‘House of Cards’ debuted online [on Feb. 14], the show’s production company sent Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley a letter with this warning: Give us millions more dollars in tax credits, or we will ‘break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state,’" the story reports.

The piece adds: "A similar letter went to the speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael E. Busch … whose wife, Cynthia, briefly appeared in an episode of the Netflix series about an unscrupulous politician — played by Kevin Spacey — who manipulates, threatens and kills to achieve revenge and power."

The state of Maryland has shelled out more than $40 million in tax credits to movie and TV production companies in recent years, the piece reports, with most of it going to “House of Cards.”

Film tax credits appear to be under pressure in the state. At a hearing last week on the issue, state lawmaker Eric G. Luedtke — a past supporter of the credits — reportedly said of film credits: “This just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And my question is: When does it stop?”

The report notes that both of the first two seasons of “House of Cards” were filmed in Maryland.

"In addition to bringing a burst of buzz and excitement, the show created nearly 6,000 jobs and pumped more than $250 million into the state economy, economic development officials say," the story reports. "In May, O’Malley (D) visited the set to promote film tax credits, exulting that Maryland was becoming ‘the premier destination in America for film production.’”

The Post report adds: "After each season, Maryland has reimbursed Media Rights Capital, the show’s California-based production company, for a chunk of production expenses. For the first season, that totaled more than $11 million in tax credits. For the second season, reimbursements could reach $15 million."

But plans by the state’s economic development officials to promise the show another $15 million in credits for season three, which was due to begin filming in spring, appear to have hit a snag.

"Lawmakers have not agreed to boost the $7.5 million in tax credits the state allocates annually for film and television projects. Two bills that would increase the ceiling — to $11 million or $18.5 million — are in committee. House leaders say some increase is likely, but whether it will be enough to keep the show in town is unclear," The Post reports.

The letter from Media Rights Capital’s Charlie Goldstein, a senior VP with the company, to Gov. O’Malley indicates that the company has pushed back the filming schedule for Season 3 to June and is waiting to see whether a sufficient hike in the credit is approved, the story reports.

The letter adds: “In the meantime I wanted you to be aware that we are required to look at other states in which to film on the off chance that the legislation does not pass, or does not cover the amount of tax credits for which we would qualify."

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  1. It’s misleading to call the letter from the HOC producer ” a threat”. This is just business as usual. States compete to attract film production by dangling tax breaks and such. Sounds like the past arrangement was a win win for both HOC and Maryland. If the MD lawmakers let this slip through their fingers then HOC will go to another location. When NYS didn’t renew the film production tax credits they lost big shows like Fox’s FRINGE which filmed their first season in NY. They headed to Vancouver and other productions went to financial friendly Connecticut.

  2. The word “tax credits” should not be applied to film incentive programs. The confusion it creates prevents people from understanding how the programs actually work. They represent cash payments for movies and shows and have NOTHING to do with taxes:http://filmworks.filmla.com/2012/03/16/runaway-production-its-not-about-lower-taxes-its-about-cash-handouts/

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