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June 04, 2015

HBO mulls moving 'Veep' production from Maryland over taxes

Time Warner Inc unit HBO is considering moving film production of the Emmy award-winning show "Veep" to California from Maryland for better tax incentives, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Veep," the comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a U.S. vice president, is one of four shows selected to receive tax credits for relocating production to California, according to the California Film Commission.

The panel has earmarked $6.5 million in film tax credits to "Veep" if the show moves to California, the commission's executive director, Amy Lemisch, said in a statement on Tuesday.

HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer said: "We're exploring our options right now."

Other shows that were selected for California tax credits are FX's "American Horror Story," ABC's "Secrets and Lies," and VH1's "Hindsight."

"Veep" has been filmed in Maryland for four years, primarily in Columbia, Baltimore and Sykesville.

"Veep" received $13.9 million in tax credits in its first three seasons, said Karen Bell Hood of Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development.

The state has not earmarked tax credits toward the next season, she said.

In November, Maryland lawmakers proposed ending the tax credits in 2016. In a report, they said the program was too costly to taxpayers and filming production brought little economic benefits.

The report said the state had given $62.5 million in tax credits to film and television productions since 2012. Of that amount, $60.2 million had gone to "Veep" and to "House of Cards," the Washington political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.

California last year tripled its tax incentive fund for television and film production to $330 million.