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Hollywood Welfare Paid by Taxpayers

Posted by FactReal on February 25, 2013

George Clooney’s film, Argo, received $6.21 million in tax credits
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Via Forbes:

Even as the Hollywood glitterati ruminate about social responsibility and the need for the wealthy “one percent” to pay their “fair share,” Hollywood millionaires and moguls are bagging an estimated $1.51 billion in tax revenues annually through something called “film tax credits.”

Consider a few of this year’s Oscar nominated films. According to a new report by the Government Accountability Institute, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial spaghetti Western, Django Unchained, featuring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio has applied to receive an estimated $8.4 million in film tax credits from the State of Louisiana. Actor-director Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney’s film, Argo, received $6.21 million in tax credits from the California Film Commission. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones, hauled in $3.5 million in tax-free film credits. Silver Linings Playbook bagged a cool $5.6 million.

Indeed, 40 states now have some form of subsidy or incentive that allow filmmakers to defray income and/or sales taxes incurred during filming. Thirteen states even offer so-called “transferrable film tax credits” that allow filmmakers to convert unused credits into cash—at taxpayer expense, of course.

[…]

[T]ax and policy analysts who have studied film tax credit programs say industry claims of job creation are vastly overstated. Worse, say critics, they drain vital state resources from things like education and healthcare.

[…]

What’s more, the Tax Foundation says “that states lose money by offering tax credits for film production” and that “movie production incentives are costly and fail to live up to their promises” because “they create mostly temporary positions with limited options for upward mobility.”

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