First, there isn't a single, solitary "tax incentive" on the books that's more useless or wasteful of our tax dollars than the film tax credit, especially if it's meant to be an "answer to the state's budget woes." For every three dollars we invest in the industry, we get a dollar back. We pay off 25% of a production's entire costs, including Tom Cruise's $20+ million paycheck, even if the movie company doesn't employ a single, solitary Massachusetts-based employee, paying Massachusetts income taxes. Not only that, but the film industry is excused from paying the same sales taxes that we all pay. The Film Tax Credit, if it's meant to help the state's budget, is literally as helpful as flushing tens of millions of dollars every year down the toilet.QUINCY —
The answer to the state’s budget woes is job creation through expanding the gambling and film production industries, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday.
Defending the state’s push for gambling and its controversial film tax credit program, DeLeo told The Patriot Ledger editorial board that one of his priorities is job creation.
Second, gambling has never, ever solved a state's budget problems. New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey all have much more gambling than we do as a state, including slots, and yet all have higher taxes for residents. Slots does not solve budget woes. They in all likelihood cost a state money in the long run, due to lost small business, decreased use of the state lottery system and literally tens of millions more in costs that must be mitigated (but can never be prevented, so long as slots are legalized).
Speaker DeLeo must be honest. He doesn't support slots because of the state's budget situation, he supports them because of the importance of race tracks in his district and the powerful track lobby. Speaker DeLeo does not support the Film Tax Credit because of the budget picture, he supports them for nice headlines and, again, the film lobby. There was a widespread effort to cap the film tax credit on celebrity stars so that the state only paid its 25% on the first $2.5 million of an actor or director's salary -- and one Tom Cruise movie threatening to leave the state later, the effort at even that little bit of sanity was tossed aside. Can Speaker DeLeo at least be intellectually honest?
Update: in the article, it's made clear that the state's going to have to make about $600 million in cuts. The Film Tax Credit costs this state upwards of a 100 million a year. Cutting it would get us roughly 10% of the way there. And this is what Speaker DeLeo considers one of the two most important programs in the state right now in restoring our budget!