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More Woes for State Film Credits

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal (9/23/11) had an entertaining article, "Snooki to Snookered: States' Film Tax Credits Produce Embarrassment" by Eric Felten, points out some of the many problems with state film credits. The article starts off noting that Governor Christie of New Jersey is concerned that his state's film credit is subsidizing Jersey Shore that is rife with stereotypes that have offended some residents. According to the article, the governor has threatened to revoke the show's $420,000 subsidy from the state.

There's more including some states being concerned that their credits are producing films unlikely to be Academy Award winners with some featuring cannibals and others cold-blood killers. Per the article: "even the most casual perusal of the productions being funded by state governments finds a preponderance of low-budget gore fests."

For more, see my 3/21/11 post - here.

I think these film credits highlight the fight states are in with each other for any kind of business activity and their willingness to lower the tax bill to be business friendly. The film credits show how this gets out of hand as the subsidies are quite large and the type of activity engaged in might not lead to long-term jobs. That is, the film is made and the company and crew leave. It's not quite as good as getting a manufacturing plant or R&D facility that is likely to stay for a longer time period. Of course, some film credits might lead to creation or growth of film companies in the state, but not always.

The credits violate principles of simplicity, neutrality, equity and transparency too.

What do you think?

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