Netflix Inc’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) political thriller “House of Cards” is holding off on beginning production for its third season, threatening to move filming from Maryland unless lawmakers provide enough tax breaks.
The production company behind the series has delayed the shooting for the new installment until mid-June while the tax breaks are being debated in the Maryland legislature.
According to reports, the show's production company Media Rights Capital has sent a letter to governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley, demanding $15 million in tax credits.
O'Malley reportedly confirmed on Friday that the production company had informed that they would be holding production plans until the dispute was resolved.
"I wanted you to be aware that we are required to look at other states in which to film on the off chance that the legislation does not pass, or does not cover, the amount of tax credits for which we would qualify," the production company’s senior vice president Charlie Goldstein reportedly wrote.
In the letter that was published by Washington Post on Friday, the production officials did not specify the amount of tax credits they were seeking.
The show reportedly received $11 million in credits for its first season and about $15 million for its second. Maryland economic development officials were planning to promise “House of Cards” another $15 million in credits for the third season.
But lawmakers have not yet agreed to increase the $7.5 million in tax credits the state allocates annually for film and television projects. Two bills that would increase the ceiling to $11 million or $18.5 million are currently in committee.
O'Malley's spokeswoman, Nina Smith, said that the governor’s office was aware of the letter. “We remain hopeful that we can reach a positive resolution," she reportedly said.
Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, who also received the letter, "is focused on maintaining a competitive film program while being sensitive to the constraints of the state's budget," said his spokeswoman, Alexandra Hughes.
"We're almost being held for ransom," state delegate Mark Fisher, a Republican from Calvert County, told the Washington Post.
Filming for the third season 3 was initially scheduled to begin in early spring.