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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