(Page 2 of 2)
According to the Internet Movie Database, more than 424 individual productions, which would be applicable for the tax credits, were filmed in Florida in 2012. More than half are tied to Disney production companies.
These include the TV hit Cougar Town and films such as Iron Man 3 and Step Up Revolution.
These productions are also eligible for up to $8 million in film incentives set up by the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment, which helps applicants acquire state and federal tax credits, as well as sales tax exemptions.
Disney’s 2011 financial report reveals more than $2 billion in overall tax benefits from 2009-11, while a 2004 report by Reason magazine details more than $4.5 billion in special loans, land grants, credits, and investments in the prior decade.
Disney’s head lobbyist on Capitol Hill is Richard Bates, a former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
He has spearheaded Disney’s lobbying activities since 2010, including support for more than 25 bills in the past congressional session, issues as diverse as immigration reforms, strengthening of copyright laws and tax reform measures, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks spending and ethics on Capitol Hill.
The Fiscal Boon
On Jan. 2, the first day the stock market opened after the fiscal cliff deal was signed, the Walt Disney Co. hit a three-month high of $51.10 per share on the New York Stock Exchange.
Some analysts say the fiscal cliff deal is most likely responsible for the jump.
“Once the fiscal cliff passed, futures went way up,” said Andrew Horowitz, president of Horowitz & Co., a financial planning firm based in Fort Lauderdale. He also hosts The Disciplined Investor, one of the top rated business podcasts, according to iTunes.
“By increasing what Disney gets, it’s essentially allowing them to continue on the path to expect government money,” he told Florida Watchdog.
Horowitz said the expectation of the film tax credits might have played a role in the stock jump, but it is more likely due to the finalized deal from Congress, which will give hope to the markets.
“There’s no significant benefit for anyone in the deal, other than extending tax breaks which already existed. The taxes may be going to Disney, but spending still isn’t restrained,” said Horowitz. “There was supposed to be a $300 billion decrease in spending that just disappeared in a few hours.
“Congressmen have stock and they’re definitely afraid of the stock market. But this didn’t really do anything to address spending or tax issues,” said Horowitz. “This was a plan. A plan to give tax relief for a number of years, and then after a while, we’d pay it back.
“The film credits really have no business being handed by the federal government. At the very least, it should be handled by the states.”
This article originally appeared at Watchdog.org.