One of the most egregious forms of modern corporate welfare is the statehouse giveaway to television and film production, a star-struck economic nonsense maneuver that went from about 0 to 50 in less than two decades. The science is settled: This deal stuffs the pockets of one favored industry at the expense of the rest of a polity's taxpayers, generating headlines like "Michigan's Film Industry took $500 Million in Subsidies, Produced Laughable Number of Jobs." And confiscating my money to reward a politically favored industrial constituency is more than just wasteful and ineffective, it's morally wrong.
That's why this news, reported by the Boston Globe, is encouraging:
In Maryland, where the Netflix series "House of Cards" is shot, a recent report by the legislature's nonpartisan staff found that for every dollar in film incentives the state doles out, it gets back only 10 cents in state and local tax revenue.
In Louisiana, known as "Hollywood South" for the size of its entertainment industry, a new study commissioned by the state's economic development department says taxpayers lost as much as $184 million on film tax credits last year.
In the fall, Nevada shifted most of the money from its film incentives program into a package of tax breaks for electric carmaker Tesla. And Michigan and North Carolina have substantially scaled back their credits.
"They're a colossal waste of money," said Paul Stam, the Republican speaker pro tempore in North Carolina's House of Representatives. "We were sending big checks to Hollywood producers and rich guys out of state." […]
In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder has labeled film incentives and other targeted tax credits the "heroin drip" of government.
And here's your morning LOL:
"If these programs were not working — not producing jobs, not producing investments — they would be eliminated," said Vans Stevenson, senior vice president of state government affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America.
Right, because that has stopped so much crony capitalism before….
Watch Reason TV interview producer Gavin Polone on the folly of subsidies below: