'House of Cards' wants tax breaks from MD or the hit show is hitting the road

'House Of Cards' Threatens To Leave Md. Over Tax Credits
'House Of Cards' Threatens To Leave Md. Over Tax Credits

It seems Frank Underwood isn't the only ruthless one on the "House of Cards" set.

The show's production company sent Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley a letter urging lawmakers to increase the tax credits available for production in the state, or else it will "break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state."

In the past few years, Maryland has handed out more than $40 million in tax breaks to movie and television production companies that filmed in the state - the vast majority of that went to the Netflix show.

According to The Washington Post, Maryland reimbursed the company with $11 million for season one, and that number could reach $15 million for season two.

Producers want at least another $15 million for season three and have even pushed back filming to see if Maryland officials will comply. There are currently two bills in committee that would increase the state's annual tax credit budget.

State officials say the show has created nearly 6,000 jobs and generated more than $250 million for the state economy.

Lawmakers are divided on whether to continue giving away so much tax revenue, with some arguing it's not fiscally responsible.

And they could be right. According to the Tax Foundation, a 2005 study found states recoup just 16-18 percent of their tax breaks. That means states are missing out on more than 80 percent of every dollar they offer in incentives.

It also notes the majority of the jobs production creates go to out-of-state residents. Even if they do go to locals, they're usually relatively short-term.

The District of Columbia doesn't actually offer tax credits, so even shows about the capital city are often filmed elsewhere - both "Cards" and HBO political comedy "Veep" are filmed in Baltimore and other parts of Maryland.

Filming for "House of Cards" season three has been pushed back to June. The entire first and second seasons are currently available on Netflix.