- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Actor Kevin Spacey greeted Maryland lawmakers at a wine bar Friday night to help promote an expansion of a tax credit for filming movies and television shows in the state.

The two-time Oscar winner posed for photos inside the invitation-only event near the statehouse, where lawmakers are entering the last two weeks of their annual 90-day legislative session. Spectators on the city’s Main Street watched lawmakers stream into the bar.

Spacey was invited by Gerard Evans, a lobbyist who is representing the show “House of Cards,” produced by Netflix.

Parts of the show starring Spacey have been filmed in Maryland, including Annapolis. Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford, said she supports boosting the tax credit.

“You look at what it brings to this area and to my home district in Harford County where they do most of it, it’s really important, so I’m in favor of it,” Jacobs said, while showing reporters a photo she had taken with Spacey inside Red Red Wine Bar.

Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, R-Talbot, said she has seen how movies filmed in her legislative district on Maryland’s Eastern Shore have attracted tourists. She also recalled business generated locally due to the film “Wedding Crashers.”

“We have people ask all the time where the house is located where the filming took place,” she said.

Maryland has committed about $54 million from fiscal year 2012 through 2016 for “House of Cards” and the HBO show “Veep.” The state Senate has voted to raise the amount Maryland can spend on the program from $7.5 million to $18.5 million next year. The House hasn’t acted on the bill, which is in the Ways and Means Committee.

Last year, lawmakers raised the tax credit amount from $7.5 million to $25 million.

Del. Ron George, R-Anne Arundel, said he has voted for the tax credit in the past, but he is taking a closer look at it this year.

“I want to make sure it’s going to generate revenue for the state,” George said. “We’re still pulling all the facts and figures. We have not moved it in Ways and Means, because we’re still studying it.”

Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington, said he thought the show was “worth every penny that we offer.”

“They have had a huge impact on the economy in Maryland,” Donoghue said. “People worldwide are watching 'House of Cards' on Netflix, and I think that’s very, very important and we don’t want to lose them.”

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com