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Details Emerge for Massachusetts' Proposed Game Developer Tax Breaks

New details have emerged surrounding a slate of proposed tax breaks and incentives being considered by Massachusetts legislators as the state tries to increase its reputation as a hub for the industry.
New details have emerged surrounding a slate of proposed tax breaks and incentives being considered by Massachusetts legislators as the state tries to increase its reputation as a hub for the industry. A Boston Herald report describes the draft legislation, which would offer tax credits to video game development startups and companies that relocate to Massachusetts. The precise level of tax savings would be tied to job creation and production goals, with a "clawback" provision to recoup funds from firms that don't reach their goals. The state is also considering using special economic development zones, low-interest loans and free use of surplus state property to lure game companies to the state, according to the report. State Rep. Vincent Pedone told the Herald he hoped tax credits could help grow the state's video game industry from its current annual size of $2 billion to $20 billion within five years, similar to the recent growth seen in the state's biotechnology industry. But Massachusetts House Republican leader Bradley Jones indicated he might be more amenable to focusing tax breaks "on more broad-based initiatives that would help all companies." Game-industry-focused tax breaks for Massachusetts are part of a working plan put forth by Pedone that also seeks to establish a Massachusetts Video Game Institute at Becker College. That plan calls for a 35 percent transferable tax credit for game developers. In discussing the plan at an event last month, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray warned "I don't think [tax credits are] anything you're going to see in this budget.” A final bill is expected to be filed in the state house on January 21 in advance of a vote.

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