Hawaiian Tax Credit Stalls in Committee, Jeopardizes $400M Studio Plans

Joint legislative committee defers action on bill until next year

Gridlock in the Hawaiian legislature has halted the progress of a production tax credit bill that would have led to the construction of two studio complexes with a near-$400 million construction budget.

The so-called "Relativity bill," which was backed by Relativity Media and Shangri-La Business Group and would have increased tax credits for filming in the state to as much as 40 percent, was tabled for this legislative session by a joint committee. A number of other bills were put on hold as well.

Also read: Steve Bing, Ryan Kavanaugh to Build $400M Hawaiian Studio, Vote on Tax Incentive Tuesday

The Hawaii Reporter wrote that the Friday session at which the bill was considered was "more chaotic than any other over the last three decades," mostly because of financial disagreements between the legislators and governor Neil Abercrombie.

The tax credit bill, which had been approved by committees in the state Senate and House of Representatives, was not considered by the joint committee, but was deferred to the next legislative session.

A spokesperson for Hawaii Senator Donna Mercado Kim, who introduced the senate version of the bill, told TheWrap that the Hawaiian legislature ends its 60-day session on Thursday and will not convene again until the third Wednesday of January, 2012. The bill can be reconsidered at that point.

The action was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

If the bill had passed, Relativity and Shangri-La had drawn up plans for two $193 million studio complexes, one on Oahu and one on Maui.

A Relativity spokesperson said the company had no comment.