Maryland Gov.: ‘House of Cards’ Tax Credit Demand Not Unusual

Is Frank Underwood trying to shake down Maryland taxpayers? The state’s Gov. Martin O’Malley doesn’t seem too worried, and hopes to keep the show around.

Kevin Spacey, left, and Robin Wright arrive at a special screening for season 2 of “House of Cards”, on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

“We have tax credits for a number of important sectors, including life science, biotech, and the like,” O’Malley told TheBlaze. “We understand that every sector would like us to do more in terms of tax credits.”

The “House of Cards” production company is seeking larger subsidies from Maryland, whose taxpayers helped subsidize a total of $26 million for two season of popular Netflix program. O’Malley said he expects his state to keep the shows production.

In a recent letter to O’Malley, the production company threatened to “break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state” unless the state provides additional tax credits, the Washington Post reported last week.

“We have done more on film, on life science, biotech, research and development,” O’Malley said. “We hope to keep them. There are a lot of good jobs there. And we hope they continue to film in Maryland. I understand they are very pleased with the work force.”

O’Malley was in Washington for a meeting of the National Governors Association. He spoke to TheBlaze shortly after a meeting at the White House, along with other governors, with President Barack Obama.

“House of Cards” is about the corrupt politician Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. The fictional show’s storyline is based in Washington, D.C., but films in nearby Maryland.

Production company Media Rights Capital Senior Vice President Charlie Goldstein wrote a letter to both O’Malley and Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch, both Democrats.

“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 letter said. “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.”

Asked if he thought he would lose the production of the show, O’Malley said, “I would hope not, but all sectors push for increased credits.”

The show has created nearly 6,000 jobs and pumped more than $250 million into the state economy, the Post reported.

The show received $11 million in tax credits for the first season and $15 million in tax credits for the second seasons. Legislation to increase tax credits for the third season to $18.5 million in tax credits in still in committee, the Post reported.