Financial incentives for video game creators, as well as film and TV productions could be on the ropes if the House version of the state budget is any indication. One lawmaker’s amendment slashed the program’s funding by nearly two-thirds.
The House bill came out of committee with $22.8 million earmarked to attract entertainment and advertising projects to the state over the next two years. During floor debate Wednesday, Republican Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano proposed an amendment that would take $18 million from the program and use it to fund women’s health care programs – including expanding post-birth care for mothers from 60 days to one year. Democrats, including Rep Garnet Coleman of Houston, were left in the uncomfortable position of fighting for the funding of one program at the expense of another they’d like to support…
“It’s noble for you to want to put the money into postpartum depression and things that we’ve been working for a very long time,” Coleman said. “I believe the way you laid out your amendment, you don’t believe funding the movie industry is good for the use of state dollars.”
Even though the amendment passed, there is still a chance for more Texas Moving Image Incentive Program funding. Discrepancies and contentious issues between the House and Senate budgets are worked out in a reconciliation process. And eventually the governor will have his say. The state approved more than $30 million for the incentive program in 2017.