Pittsburgh Ponders Impact Interactive Tax Credits Might Have

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania technology leaders are wondering if a state-wide tax credit for interactive developers would slow the flow of recent graduates to other states.

In a Post-Gazette story, Pittsburgh’s videogame community is attributed almost entirely to the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). Of the school’s 60 students gaming program graduates from the Class of 2010, only four found work and remained in Pittsburgh, while 15 headed west to California for employment.

The school’s ETC Director, Drew Davidson, said that he has met with state representatives multiple times over the years to lobby for game developer tax incentives, but that interest in such a program “goes in cycles,” and involves “so many different parties and different agendas."

It was posed that the situation was kind of a chicken and the egg scenario: “Are students moving because of tax incentives or because of the culture that the tax incentives have helped create?”

To aid in any future movement on the initative, the Pittsburgh Technology Council is conducting a local game industry census.

While economists “warn that a strapped Harrisburg is not the place to look for help” in achieving such incentives, a lot may depend on the outcome of this fall’s gubernatorial race, where game industry backers could gain a little leverage if Republican candidate Tom Corbett wins. His son is a student at the Entertainment Technology Center.

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  1. 0
    Spekkio says:

    I want jobs in the Pittsburgh area as much as anyone, but I’m definitely not going to vote for Tom Corbett. Besides, the Democratic candidate, Dan Onorato, is actually *from* Pittsburgh. It would be nice to have a governor that didn’t come out of Philly.

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Incentives would help, but PA has a more fundemental problem.  While the IGDA has tried to help, the companies here just don’t talk to each other.  They tend to be less mainstream, tend not to have heard of eachother, and when an employie moves on they do not even know about local companies and thus move out of the area.

    Conversly, any time they need to hire, they tend to have to go out of the area to find people since no one here is looking for them.   This causes a nasty retention cycle and lack of community.  Find a way to address that and I think local companies will do much better and you would start to see spin offs or startups.

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