One of the complaints of the program that allows film producers to have taxpayers cover 30 to 35 percent of their production expenses is that the producers hire the accountants who certify those expenses.

That would change under House Bill 604, which the House approved unanimously Wednesday. The legislation calls for Louisiana Economic Development, the state agency that oversees the program, to hire the accountants, not the film producers. LED welcomes the change.

The bill “provides more assurances to the state – and thus the public – that the state will be in control of the verification of expenses,” state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, said in an interview after the bill’s passage. She noted that the bill requires the CPA firms to have a continuing education background in the film tax credits.

The producers would pay for the accountants’ work, with a fee of $15,000 or $25,000, depending on the amount of expenses.

Stokes’ bill now goes to the Senate.