State legislators in Texas have proposed deep cuts from its Moving Image Industry Incentives Program designed to fund film, TV and game projects.
The scheme had been running since 2008 and provided companies with approximately $150m in incentives. This has brought in spending of $1bn by companies in the area.
But as reported by The Texas Tribune, following disputes between the film and game industries, the new two-year budget deal has slashed funding to $32m. This was less than half the amount requested by Governor Greg Abbott.
The local film industry reportedly lobbied for separate funding schemes for itself and the game industry, arguing the two sectors were “fundamentally different”. A highlighted difference was the fact that movies are filmed across various locations, whereas games are developed in a studio and take years to make.
Advocates had wanted $150m for film incentives, and a separate $47m for games over the next two years. The Texas game industry was said to be open to a split, but was not keen for it to occur this year. It also had concerns about the difficulties of game firms receiving the grants.
“The failure of the two industries to find common ground during the Senate mark-up process doomed us in conference committee and is the origin of today’s bad feelings about the future of the program,” said film industry lobbyist Lawrence Collins Collins.
Speaking to Texas Public Radio, former IGDA Austin president and Captivate Conference exec director Jennifer Bullard said: "Everyone is disappointed, quite frankly, very upset and discouraged. This was an incentive program that showed that Texas cared about game development, and this just sends a really clear message that they don’t care about game developers.”
A petition has been started on Change.org calling for a special session of the legislature to fully fund the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program and secure jobs in the film and TV industries. No mention of games is made.
Image credit: Argash