Why are State Taxpayers Subsidizing Big Budget Films and TV Shows?
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
State officials have been lining up like kids outside a theater box office, spending more than $1 billion to coax Hollywood to film movies and television shows in various states.
Forty-three states currently offer subsidies to production companies. Comparatively, only a handful of states were willing to do so back in 2002.
During fiscal year 2010, when many states struggled to close budget deficits, about $1.5 billion went towards TV and film subsidies.
Alaska and Michigan provided the most generous tax subsidies, 44 cents and 42 cents on the dollar, respectively, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The think tank has questioned spending so much money to woo Hollywood producers to relocate their productions. Some movie and TV show makers didn’t need the enticements to film in particular states, the Center argued, adding that many production jobs are so specialized that the subsidies don’t result in a lot of local hiring within states. Those jobs that are created are usually temporary and often only part-time.
“Subsidies don’t pay for themselves,” wrote Robert Tannenwald of the Center. “The revenue generated by economic activity induced by film subsidies falls far short of the subsidies’ direct costs to the state. To balance its budget, the state must therefore cut spending or raise revenues elsewhere, dampening the subsidies’ positive economic impact.”
To Learn More:
State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks (by Robert Tannenwald, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
The Blockbuster Scam: A Surprising Way You're Getting Ripped-Off By Hollywood (by Pat Garofalo, AlterNet)
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