Yesterday I insisted that states stop subsidizing filmmaking. Implied, I hope, was the notion that states needn’t provide tax credits to lure movie shoots to their state, either.
No sooner did I wrap up that argument (with the premature proclamation “end of story”) than I read a fine article on Show Me Daily about how “States Can Entice Businesses and Industries Without Credits.” The article begins talking about making films in Wisconsin, where the tax credits were just cut by two thirds. And yet the state has nabbed some major film efforts.
According to Show Me, “Wisconsin sets a great example. . . .” Every state has something going for it, unique locations, geography, architecture, people, climate, what-have-you. “Firms will locate” where they do for relevant reasons; “they don’t need to be bribed with generous incentive packages.”
But, but, but, but! some will sputter. Film companies are special firms. They start up, inhabit a location for a while, and then vamoose. State regulations and business taxation often makes it very difficult to shoot in a particular place. Filmmakers need special help around encumbering bureaucratic obstacles.
I’m sympathetic. For example, the business-and-occupation taxes that increasing numbers of states are instituting are horrendously burdensome: They take from gross revenues, of all things!
But the proper way around such counter-productive laws is outright repeal, setting up better state revenue programs . . . ones that are not so generally destructive of industry, including the film industry.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.