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Ryan Kavanaugh, Steve Bing press Hawaii for tax credits to support studio facilities

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Film producers Ryan Kavanaugh and Steve Bing want to build two large film production studios in Hawaii -- with a little help from the state’s taxpayers.

Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media and Steve Bing’s Shangri-La Business Group have proposed building two 180,000-square-foot production facilities in Maui and Oahu contigent on the state approving a new film tax credit. The investment would total about $400 million, according to a statement from Relativity.

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The state legislature is considering a bill that would increase the state’s film tax credit from 20% to 40% for film productions and provide a 25% to 40% tax credit for production facilities up to $25 million per project. The bill is winding its way through various state committees, and a final vote is expected in June.

“It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and with its lush and vast landscapes, can mirror a multitude of locales,’’ Kavanaugh said in a statement. ‘The islands boast a large unemployed workforce of skilled laborers and we know the legislation will have massive benefit to the economy there.’

Kavanaugh, who owns a house in Maui, has aggressively lobbied for the bill.

He and Bing, a well-known backer of the Democratic Party, even enlisted support from former President Bill Clinton, who wrote a letter urging state senators and representives to approve the new credits. Kavanaugh’s plans were first reported in The Wrap on Thursday.

Bing could not be reached for comment.

-- Richard Verrier

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