Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Colorado hasn't yet jumped on the film subsidy bandwagon

Tax subsidies for film and TV productions are a poor way to stimulate the economy, and they're unnecessarily generous to movie producers, a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows. Among the report's main points:
  • State film subsidies are costly to states and generous to movie producers.
  • Subsidies reward companies for production that they might have done anyway.
  • The best jobs to go nonresidents.
  • Subsidies don't pay for themselves.
  • No state can "win" the film subsidy war.
  • Supporters of subsidies rely on flawed studies.
Colorado hasn't entirely stayed away from the craze, but fortunately our state has appropriated only $300,000 in film incentives for Fiscal Year 2010. Other states appear to have gone bananas with the idea, including $100 million in California, $53.5 million in Florida, $100 million in Massachusetts and $60.5 million in New Mexico.

Yikes. Considering the revenue problems most states are facing -- like Colorado, they're unable to maintain even basic public structures like roads, schools and social services -- it's hard to imagine such a generous and ineffective giveaway. It would be better if Colorado's subsidy were zero, but in general our state falls on the right side of a budget controversy by putting investments in families and economic security ahead of handouts to Hollywood.

And just by the way, a fair number of films have been shot in Colorado despite the state's paltry handouts. To learn more about our state's program, check the Colorado Film Commission.

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