University of Pittsburgh
April 5, 2009

The University of Pittsburgh to Host Tax Credit Debate on Film Production April 13

The debate will consider the question "Should Pennsylvania Extend Its Film Production Tax Credit?"
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Debating Union will host a public debate addressing a possible tax-credit extension to support Pittsburgh's film industry, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 13 in G-23 auditorium of Parran Hall, 130 DeSoto St., Oakland.

Pennsylvania offers a 25 percent tax credit to film production companies that spend at least 60 percent of their total budget in the Commonwealth. The program is capped at

$75 million for the fiscal year July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009, but extension of the tax credit is being considered in the legislature.

Supporters of the extension argue that the measure draws motion picture and television series projects to the area and employs professionals in the industry and supports Pittsburgh's image as a livable city. The opposition questions the tax credit's effectiveness and believes that the money could be better spent elsewhere in light of the current economy.

The panel will include Pitt students Brett Powers, Matt Schultz, Jennifer Sweeney, Michael Mangus, and Richard Pittman, as well as two expert speakers: Amie Downs, chief of staff for Pennsylvania state senator Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline), who will argue for the tax credit extension, and Joseph Henchman, tax counsel and director of state projects at Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group in Washington, D.C., who will argue against it.

The debate format includes opening speeches, questions from student panelists, audience questions, and closing remarks. William Pitt Debating Union director and professor of communications Gordon Mitchell will moderate.

This is the third debate in the series "The Future of Pittsburgh," made possible by a generous gift from William Pitt Debating Union alumnus Marcella L. Finegold

(A&S '37).

The event is free and open to the public, and may be viewed via Web stream at Parking for the event is available at Soldiers and Sailors Parking Garage, Bigelow Boulevard, Oakland, and will cost $5. For more information, contact Rebecca Dawson at 412-624-2887 or