A key legislator says the state’s film production tax credit may be suspended up to a year while policymakers figure out how to deal with questionable spending and accounting procedures. Governor Culver spoke publicly about the state Film Office fiasco Wednesday, saying he was “outraged” movie producers had taken advantage of the program by claiming tax credits for things like luxury vehicles.
House Speaker Pat Murphy says with a criminal investigation underway, reinstating the tax credit program is complicated. “I think it’s possible that we could be looking at a few months,” Murphy says. “It could be six months. It could be a year, but I think we need to make sure we know what’s going on with this program before we start it back up.”
Iowans involved in film and TV productions say the suspension of the program is putting a damper on the industry and ruining the state’s reputation as a place to make movies. Murphy says lawmakers want to give the state auditor and state’s attorney general time to conduct their investigation.
“We don’t want to adversely affect the Iowa economy,” Murphy says. “But I think it’s more important we are a protector of the taxpayers’ money in making sure that it is spent wisely and that (the state) is not being taken advantage of.” Murphy is a Democrat from Dubuque where the movie “F.I.S.T.” starring Sylvestor Stallon was filmed in Dubuque in the late ’70s and the 1981 movie “Pennies From Heaven” starring Steve Martin includes scenes from Dubuque.
The 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” includes a few scenes from Dubuque, but it featured an Iowa corn field as a major part of the plot. The baseball field featured in the film that was carved out of two corn fields near Dyersville is maintained and open to the public from April through November 1st.