The top Democrat in the Iowa Legislature still gives the state tax credit for movie and TV productions a 50/50 chance of survival, despite today’s recommendation from the governor’s top agency directors that the credit be eliminated. 

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says if a vote were scheduled today, he would vote to eliminate the tax credit for filmmakers, but Gronstal says lawmakers will take more time to review the matter.

“Some of the proponents of the film indusry have made the case that it creates jobs,” Gronstal says. 

According to Gronstal, changing the state’s research activities tax credit — as the governor’s aides propose — may be unwise because the credit helps keep some major businesses in Iowa. 

“I think you’ve seen the research activities credit do things for large companies like John Deere and Pioneer Hi-Bred and some of those kind of companies bring research to Iowa and that create that are very high-wage, very high-skill,” Gronstal says.

And Gronstal’s not ready to embrace the other key recommendation from the governor’s agency directors, that all of the state’s business-related tax credits be limited or “capped” annually to total no more than $185 million.

“There are some tax credits that you can make a strong case create real jobs, long term jobs and the kinds of jobs that we want in this state,” Gronstal says. 

Gronstal made his comments this morning during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs this weekend on Iowa Public Television.  

The 2010 legislative session is scheduled to begin Monday.