Today, Governor Jindal signed laws that enhance Louisiana’s Digital Interactive Media & Software tax credit, and enhance and extend the Technology Commercialization & Jobs tax credit.
Senate Bill 123, authored by Sen. Daniel Martiny of Metairie, La., enhances the Digital Media Incentive by offering a refundable, rather than a transferable credit. The Digital Media tax credit program offers tax credits of 25 percent on qualified interactive software production in entertainment, healthcare, engineering and other sectors. Payroll expenses for Louisiana residents engaged in that work can be eligible for a 35 percent credit. The enhancements in this bill mean that participating companies will receive a significantly larger benefit from the program even though the cost to the state for a given project won’t change. State Rep. Cameron Henry of New Orleans also was an instrumental backer of the digital media legislation.
Senate Bill 134, authored by Sen. Dan Claitor of Baton Rouge, La., extends the Technology Commercialization tax credit another six years through 2017. The Technology Commercialization program offers tax credits of 40 percent on up to $250,000 a year in research tied to Louisiana higher education campuses. Those research companies may apply for a 6 percent payroll rebate on qualified jobs.
“The Digital Media Tax Credit and Technology Commercialization Tax Credit programs illustrate how powerful incentives can be in generating new investment and job opportunities our Louisiana businesses and people,” said Gov. Jindal. “These programs have the potential to expand reach in innovative fields that have already rapidly grown in just the past couple of years. These tax incentives will help create job opportunities for our children right here in Louisiana so they don’t have to leave home to pursue their dreams.”
“Louisiana’s Digital Media Tax Credit is a strong asset to growing the industry and making the state a global competitor in video game development,” said Craig Hagen, senior director of Government Affairs for Electronic Arts Inc. (EA). “We look forward to working with Louisianans in this exciting endeavor.”
The Digital Media tax credit program has resulted in the attraction of major technology companies to Louisiana, such as EA, which are creating more than 1,000 new jobs in Louisiana. Additionally, the program has helped to cultivate younger, high-growth companies.
Taking advantage of Digital Media tax credits, Shreveport-based companies Twin Engine Labs and Moonbot Studios recently partnered to create a new iPad app, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” The app was developed completely in Louisiana with 100 percent Louisiana talent. It recently received accolades from a variety of publications around the country, including the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times, which have highlighted it as one of the best examples of the next generation of interactive children’s books. Wired.com called it a “game-changer.”
“In the months prior to our launch of Twin Engine Labs, Louisiana seemed like a great place to come back home to, but not exactly the tech bubble we were accustomed to in San Francisco and other markets. The fact that every single one of our projects garners these amazing digital media tax credits shows that Louisiana is the next up-and-coming tech hub and is thinking in a very innovative way,” said Ken Hanson, co-founder of Twin Engine Labs with his twin brother, Keith. “We have benefited greatly from everything that Louisiana’s doing, the greatest of which has been growing our company from a pair of identical twins to a staff of 13 designers and engineers in just nine months, and in turn increasing our revenue by 400 percent.”
Passing the Digital Media and Technology Commercialization incentives comes just after Jindal signed the Angel Investor Tax Credit into law, which gives a tax credit to certain investors who invest in Louisiana startups.