Film Credits More Blooper Reel than Blockbuster

Film industry lobbyists are renewing calls for more corporate welfare for the film industry, through expansion of Pennsylvania’s Film Tax Credit. 

As we’ve noted time and time again, the benefits of the FTC are vastly overstated.  As PA Independent’s Eric Boehm comments,

The article notes that “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises” did not get any tax credits from the state.

If blockbusters like that are going to film in Pennsylvania without a taxpayer-subsidized incentive, why did we spend $3.3 million to host the filming of “My Bloody Valentine” or $36 million for “The Last Airbender?

Why indeed.  In fact, most movies and other productions filmed in Pennsylvania don’t receive the film tax credit. This fact undermines the argument we need a bigger tax credit (or one at all) to attract films.

The allure of Tinseltown is beginning to wane with fewer states operating film tax credit programs than in 2010. This is due to the ensuing scandal when politicians decide which Hollywood companies get tax breaks and which bad TV shows or political movies get subsidized, and that film tax credits are failing to generate the promised economic benefits.

The biggest problem with film tax credits is common to all corporate welfare and targeted tax breaks—they prevent states from making across the board tax reductions that would benefit all business.  Such reform, not more credits for Big Hollywood, is how Pennsylvania can improve its economy.