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Tax incentives bring jobs, filming of new sci-fi movie to Utah

Tax incentives bring jobs, filming of new sci-fi movie to Utah


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SALT LAKE CITY — State tax incentives the Governor's Office of Economic Development board approved Thursday will help a Draper financial services firm and a St. George aerospace company expand, creating more than 300 new jobs.

GOED also approved film incentives for the making of a new science fiction movie in Utah based on a story by Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee. Bill Borden, the creator and executive producer of "High School Musical" will produce the movie titled "Archalien."


HealthEquity Inc., plans to add 200 jobs over six years with a $6.75 million expansion of its Draper headquarters. It could earn up to a $570,000 tax credit over that time if it lives up to terms of the agreement.

"This great state offers a highly skilled and educated talent pool, proactive communities and a government that promotes business," said Jon Kessler, HealthEquity president and CEO.

Founded in 2002, the company serves 70 of the nations' top health plans and 27,000 employers. It recently acquired the Bancorp's health savings account portfolio.


RAM Co. intends to bring up to 139 new jobs in St. George over the next eight years with an $11 million expansion plan. RAM, started in 1975, designs and makes parts for the aerospace industry. It could earn a $373,000 tax credit if it makes good on its contract with the state.

Val Hale, GOED executive director, said nearly two thirds of companies that receive state incentives already have ties to Utah.

"Our most important economic growth happens within our state," he said.


As for the sci-fi movie, it marks Borden's return to Utah 10 years after the release of "High School Musical." The production plans to spend $7.5 million on the ground, with the majority of the filming taking place in the Salt Lake City area.

Borden said he has made seven films in Utah and keeps returning because he is drawn to its professional crews, accessible resources and great locations.

Created by Lee, Ralph Hemecker and Bill MacDonald, the movie tells the story of a young media entrepreneur who runs a website that exploits and profits from alien conspiracy theories, until he discovers they are true. Hemecker, whose credits include the TV series "Once Upon a Time" and "The Flash," will direct "Archalien."

More than 900 films have been made in the state, using its unique and diverse landscapes, said Virginia Pearce, Utah Film Commission director. "We are always delighted to see talent return to Utah and our team remains committed to help all local projects run seamlessly," she said.


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Dennis Romboy


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