Taggert Brooks Economics Consulting
Taggert Brooks - Economic Consulting

Hollywood Subsidies

La Crosse was initially in the running to become one of the locations for the new Johnny Depp “Public Enemies” movie. Wisconsin was chosen for several reasons, one of which was probably the newly passed tax considerations. Maybe we should look at the evidence and research done by other states. This headline says it all:

Rich stars pocket subsidies, state says
The analysis by the Department of Revenue this week estimated that at least half the film-industry payroll spending will go to out-of-town residents, mainly actors, directors, and producers commanding salaries of more than $1 million each. The Revenue Department assumes they will spend only a fraction of their paychecks in Massachusetts, limiting the benefits to the local economy.

The Revenue Department noted its analysis is consistent with a 2005 report on Louisiana’s film tax subsidies, which estimated 60 percent of spending eligible for tax credits would go out-of-state. And when The Providence Journal reviewed records for a Wesley Snipes film subsidized by Rhode Island, it found just $1.9 million of the $11 million in production expenses went to local residents and vendors – less than the $2.65 million in tax credits issued to support the 2006 movie, “Hard Luck.”

But in this week’s report, the Revenue Department found the subsidies probably wouldn’t generate enough money in income taxes and other revenue to offset the cost of the incentives, forcing the state to cut other government spending. Assuming $100 million a year in incentive spending, the state said it would only be able to recoup $18 million to $23 million in other tax revenue.

Posted: June 23rd, 2008
Categories: subsidies, tax
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