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Maryland pays $11.5 million to keep House of Cards

The cinematic chronicling of Frank Underwood's Machiavellian ways in House of Cards will continue in Maryland.

Frank_Underwood_Kevin_Spacey_House_of_Cards_Netflix_posterState officials and the Netflix show's production company Media Rights Capital have reached an $11.5 million tax break agreement that will keep the political thriller filming in Maryland.

"Spoiler alert: we're going to keep the 3,700 jobs and more than 100 million dollars of economic activity and investment that House of Cards generates right here in Maryland," said the state's Gov. Martin O'Malley in a statement announcing the deal.

It was a victory of sorts for the Old Line State. Media Rights Capital had threatened to move operations out of Maryland if it did not receive $15 million in subsidies for the upcoming season.

House of Cards, however, will receive "only" $11.5 million from the state in 2014. The subsidy comes via a combination of Maryland's Film Production Tax Credit program and a General Assembly authorization of $7.5 million in grants in the state's fiscal year 2015 budget.

The political thriller, set in neighboring Washington, D.C., and starring Kevin Spacey as the unscrupulous politician Underwood, received $26 million in tax credits for filming its first two seasons in Maryland.

Production on Season 3 is expected to start in the next several months.

Not worth the tax price: Opponents of government subsidies for television and film projects say such tax arrangements are literal economic houses of cards.

The argument that productions provide substantial economic rewards are shaky, say critics, with shows often returning much less fiscally than promised to states and the local communities that host the productions.

Politicians, however, seem perpetually star-struck and despite some spectacular, and sometimes criminal, failures, continue to make deals to keep Hollywood types in their neighborhoods.

That's why Spacey made a trip to Annapolis, Maryland, last month to urge members of the General Assembly to financially support the production.

It looks like Underwood Spacey won again.

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Terri Johnson

Maryland 'paid' nothing.That is not how 'tax exemptions' work. And the tax exemptions cover only 25% of production costs,which means that Maryland businesses and citizens did benefit from the taxed 75% .
To discourage an increased presence of filmwork in Maryland,puts many Maryland citizens at risk for unemployment.
The agreement reached will keep HOC production in Maryland for this season&reaches no further.
Maryland must raise the limits on tax exemptions for film production and keep them stable in order to bring this work to Maryland and keep it here.Every state around us is aiming to bring in every production company we scare away,for their own gain.
Those of us who depend on this work for a living are counting on Maryland's politicians(and those of us who vote for them)to recognize the huge benefits and act accordingly.

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