You can stall Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), but you can never keep him down! Production on House of Cards Season 3 has been delayed, despite recently being renewed for a spring start date. It will instead begin shooting mid-June.
The series is awaiting the outcome of two different bills in the Maryland Legislature that will ensure lucrative state tax breaks for House of Cards, which is shot on location in and around the state, with its Washington, D.C. based storyline.
The producers behind House of Cards, Media Rights Capital, received more than $11 million in Maryland tax credits for Season 1, with Season 2's incentives to reach $15 million. MRC is seeking a similar tax break for House of Cards Season 3, which will now be impossible because Maryland has placed a $7.5 million cap on these incentives.
Both bills are currently languishing in committee, but if and when they are passed, they could raise the incentives to $11 million or $18.5 million. MRC has sent a letter to several politicians addressing both bills. In the letter, the producers claim that the show can only stay in the state if these bills are passed. The letter is causing quite a debate on capital hill.
So far, according to the Maryland Film Office, the 130 Days of production spent on Season 1 and Season 2 helped contribute $197.2 million to the film and TV economic impact in Maryland's 2013 fiscal year, and resulted in the hiring of 2,193 Maryland crew members, cast and extras. The show is also credited with renting or purchasing goods from 1,814 Maryland vendors.
Here is the full letter that MRC sent out in regards to this matter:
Honorable Governor Martin O'Malley
100 State Circle Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Governor O'Malley,
Thank you again for taking the time to visit the House of Cards set last spring to announce the enhancement of the Maryland Film Production Employment Act. The passage of the legislation allowed MRC and the production to remain In Maryland. We appreciate your strong support for our business and for recognizing the jobs and economic impact it brings to the State of Maryland.
We know that the General Assembly is in session, and understand legislation must be introduced to increase the program's funding. MRC and House of Cards had a wonderful experience over the past two seasons and we want to stay in Maryland. We are ready to assist in any way possible to help with the passage of the bill.
In the meantime 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. I am sure you can understand that we would not be responsible financiers and a successful production company if we did not have viable options available.
We wanted you to be aware that while we had planned to begin filming in early spring, we have decided to push back the start date for filming until June to ensure there has been a positive outcome of the legislation. In the event sufficient incentives do not become available, we will have to break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.
Thank you again for the support and assistance that House of Cards has received from the State of Maryland and your agencies, Baltimore City, as well as Harford County, the Maryland Film lndustry Coalition, the unions, and Maryland's citizens and thousands of small businesses, I hope this legislative session will be successful and that you will be able to visit House of Cards and spend time with our cast and crew once again.
Charlie Goldstein Senior Vice President, Television Production
Dominick Murray, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
Hannah Byron, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development
Jack Gerbes, Maryland Film Office
Debbie Dorsey, Baltimore Film Office
House of Cards Season 3 was expected to start shooting in Mid-April, but will now be pushed by at least two months. It is not yet known if this will affect the targeted February 2015 premiere date.