Hear Me Spit Bile About Hollywood Welfare

|

I'll be on Warren Olney's "Which Way L.A." radio show tonight on L.A.'s KCRW 89.9 FM (available on the internet), talking about what an utterly damned-fool bit of desperate election-year pandering it was for outgoing Mayor James Hahn to propose $15 million in tax breaks to keep Hollywood from lining the pockets of all those fat-cat Romanians and South Africans.

NEXT: I Said Slav, Dammit, Not "Slaw"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “If enacted, the proposal would be the city’s second break for the entertainment business. In November, the council agreed to reduce the tax on gross receipts to save small- and medium-sized film production $2 million annually.

    Writers, directors and other industry workers who make less than $300,000 a year will pay no taxes. The changes take effect in July.”

    I’m confused– what are the writers and directors getting a tax break on? Some kind of personal state & local income taxes?

    Also, will this overall intitiative benefit the porn industry, since I’m guessing that they comprise a lot of the ‘small’ production operations in the area?

    Corporate welfare indeed.

  2. While I am generally for tax breaks, I don’t like the kind just given to one group of people. It wouldn’t be so bad if the government giving the tax breaks would cut spending to pay for them, but instead it just raises the taxes on another group of people. The city in which I live gave a local company a generous incentive program to build a new factory. The factory was built, and my property taxes went up 40% over a few years. Now, being that the city is still broke, it has decided to audit my tax returns for the past seven years in an attempt to shake me down a little more. When will it end?

  3. While I am generally for tax breaks, I don’t like the kind just given to one group of people.

    I hear that. Instead of being a way to raise money for the government, taxes become a full-fledged method of economic micro-managing. You can get some rather severe market distortions through tax cuts on a single industry (or in some cases, a single business).

    By the way, the next phase of your story is the local company leaving the city anyway after sucking the coffers dry. That’s big city fiscal policy for you.

  4. And it ain’t just tax breaks — it’s direct subsidies, up to $625,000 per picture.

  5. I agree with Mike2039 and Phocion. I’m all for reducing the overall level of taxation and spending. But tax cuts used as economic micromanagement, ESPECIALLY if offset by other tax increases, are hardly something to cheer for.

  6. Although, in all fairness, keeping South Africans out of the entertainment industry might not be such a bad thing. I mean, have you seen the latest season of 24? Arnold Vosloo plays the most boring villain ever on 24.

    Then again, we’d also lose Charlize Theron….

    OK, I guess entertainment shouldn’t be micromanaged. But somebody should seriously revoke Vosloo’s work visa.

  7. I mean, have you seen the latest season of 24?

    I watched one episode of that show once. Never again.

  8. Outgoing, eh? There’s more on Mayor Hahn’s opponent here.

  9. I shouldn’t have used the words local company. It was actually a local factory belonging to a worldwide company, however it at one time is was a local company. This local factory might leave the city at some point, which wouldn’t surprise me. As it is, employment at this factory was supposed to be 5000, but the actual number is 3500. This is the reason the city is broke now, I guess. As far as the tax thing goes, the city sent me a letter demanding that I go downtown with my past 7 years tax returns. I filed my returns on time and paid every dime in tax; so when I received this letter, I promptly filed it in the wastebasket. A week ago, a police officer showed up at my door and served me with a subpoena Two days later, at the local watering hole, my neighbor saw me in the bar and asked what happened did you get in a fight with your roommate or something?” That added insult to injury. Now do I go downtown with all my papers or do the passive resistive thing and let the city arrest me and raid my house?

  10. I really like Warren Olneys shows! Day in, day out, he puts on two good programs every freakin’ day.

    …Between guys like Olney and stations like 103.1, LA has the best radio anywhere, I think. Who needs satellite?

  11. Normally I’m a normal guy, but sometimes I just want to have an American-French revolution. You know, kill evey god-damned elite in sight. Every time the govt. steals money from the poor to give to the rich, I really want to kill someone, anyone responsible. Look, we may be used to it, but how evil is it to take even one penny from a poor person in taxes and give it to a movie studio? Isn’t this a crime deserving death? Stealing from the poor to give to the rich? Why do we stand for it. I guess we’re all cowards (including me).

  12. And before anyone calls me a nut-case (although, maybe I am), the revolution that created this country was started because a few people didn’t want to pay a small tax on tea or stamps.

  13. Welch,

    Where’s the follow-up? Correction? Dust in the wind?

    ‘Killer jailed over poison plot’

    “An al-Qaeda suspect who stabbed to death a policeman has been jailed for 17 years for plotting to spread ricin and other poisons on the UK’s streets.”

    “They discovered castor oil beans – the raw material for ricin – along with equipment needed to produce it and recipes for ricin, cyanide, botulinum and other poisons, along with instructions for explosives.”

  14. Matt you are right domestic subsidy programs are just stupid. Private prep school kids should not be on the federal lunch program. The real solution for the outsourcing movie production exists and it won’t cost the tax payer one cent. Check out http://www.ftac.org

  15. Clay,

    Don’t you think that the outsourcing has something to do with the ridiculous unions that anyone wanting to make a film there has to deal with?

  16. Oh, and I forgot to say that any bad that happens to protectionists is well deserved! If you can’t handle competition, you suck!

  17. Lonewacko — Your post over on Michele Malkin’s site says:

    In 2001 he was asked to repudiate [MECHa’s] goals, and he refused. He responded by accusing those who were accusing him of belonging to an intolerant separatist group of… being intolerant.

    In *2003*, however, Villaraigosa responded to MECHa questions from Tim Rutten thusly:

    [H]e laughs when asked whether he ever actually read El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan. “No, not all of it,” he chuckled, “bits and pieces and maybe not even that.” In his time, Villaraigosa said, the organization was concerned with tutoring, admissions policies, ethnic studies and community organizing. “Many of us were the first people in our families to have the opportunity to attend college,” he said. “We were the beneficiaries of social change and felt a very strong obligation to give something back — not just to the Mexican community but to the whole community of the working poor to which most of our parents belonged.”

    Does Villaraigosa have any problem renouncing the slogan “Por la Raza todo. Fuera de la Raza nada”?

    “Absolutely not,” he said. “I’ve never said that, and I renounce it totally.”

  18. Our governor is doing the same stupid stuff here in Arizona of all places – she’s concerned that fewer movies are shot in Arizona nowadays. Can anyone think of a genre of movie that was really popular in the 50’s that might have been shot a lot in Arizona (think Tombstone) but is not as popular today? Maybe that has something to do with it.

    By the way, the article mentions competing with NY subsidies, but articles on the NY program say the same thing as this article – that media and movie making in the city were at record highs before the subsidy was initiated. Crazy. Anyway, I write more about the NY and Arizona movie subsidies here.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.