Tax credit may help bring video game producers to Pa.

    Film tax credit laws can help attract filmmakers to shoot on location, but what about video game producers? 

    Under a plan making its way through the state Senate in Harrisburg, the state would provide gaming companies with a tax credit for relocating to Pennsylvania.  

    Sen. Daylin Leach, who represents Montgomery and Delaware counties, is pushing the video game tax credit idea.

    There’s a lot to like, says Leach’s chief of staff, Zach Hoover.

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    “It’s a growth industry,” Hoover said. “It’s an industry that’s expanded over the course of the past few years while a lot of industries have declined.”

    Hoover pointed out that once film crews finish a movie, they pack up and leave. When a video game company moves to Pennsylvania, he said, its employees become a part of the community.

    “When a video game company moves to Pennsylvania, they stay here.  They don’t just finish filming and pack up and move on to their next location.  The people who work for that company, become a part of our communities,” Hoover said. “They become part of our tax base, they support our local business, their kids come to our schools.”

    “When we talk to people out of state, they do tend to ask us whether there’s a tax credit offered in the state of Pennsylvania because there are tax credits offered by other states,” says Nathan Solomon, founder of the nonprofit Philadelphia Game Lab. “I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but it would be a box we could check if some tax credit was offered.  It’s not the highest priority and it’s not what would kind of trigger people coming here.”

    The credits would be given per employee hired, for relocation expenses, capital expenditures, infrastructure expenses and real estate costs.

    A video game tax credit bill could convince developers to give Pennsylvania a second look, says Tim Ambrogi, a video game developer at Final Form Games in Philadelphia.  He said the video game industry offers good-paying jobs and a chance to be creative.

    The legislation is in the process of being introduced and sent to committee. A version last year did not clear committee.

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