HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia’s film industry is a huge revenue generator for the state.
However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is encouraging film industry leaders to take a second look at what California can offer them, despite the ramifications that decision could have on local businesses.
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“They’re in love with Stranger Things,” Melinda McLarnon said.
In the small town of Jackson, Georgia things are a little bit strange.
“It’s almost every day we have somebody who has come to our town to look where Stranger Things was filmed,” McLarnon said.
The town in Butts County, is better known to Stranger Things fans around the world as Hawkins, Indiana.
That notoriety brings plenty of tourists and customers into McLarnon’s Italian Restaurant, the Brickery.
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“Fans started coming in. We’ve had people as far away as Poland,” she said.
Just like many businesses around the state, she has seen direct benefits from the state’s film industry.
Now, Newsom says he wants more of the industry to move back to his state, calling on the industry to leave states like Georgia that passed strict new abortion laws.
Saying in a tweet:
But Kennesaw State Economics Professor J.C. Bradbury recently told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon that Georgia’s tax incentives remain the most lucrative in the country, making it unlikely the industry will leave.
“The reason the film industry is in Georgia is because Georgia pays the industry to film here,” Bradbury said. “So, the tax credits really give the film industry a 30% discount for filming here. And so, if you’re making a $10 million movie, you get three million off if you’re filming in Georgia.”
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We also reached out to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Film Office.
Both referred Channel 2 to the announcement this week that the film industry is stronger than ever in Georgia, spending a record-breaking $4.4 billion in the state in the past year, an industry that has helped towns like Jackson cash in.
“I think it’s meant a lot to the town. It’s put us on the map,” McLarnon said.
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