I find that the local newspaper in most towns is generally a strong supporter of most every business relocation subsidy or tax incentive that comes along -- whether it be for Apple or an NHL team or a movie production, the local paper benefits from having more newsworthy activity in town.
But the AZ Republic actually ran an article this weekend questioning movie tax incentives, perhaps the only government subsidy dumber than buying sports stadiums for billionaires
States, including Arizona, that don't offer movie and television tax breaks usually are smart not to do so, a researcher contends.
Nearly all states have lured Hollywood productions at one time or another with special tax incentives, but a University of Southern California professor says such spending fails to deliver the long-term economic benefits promised by industry lobbyists and lawmakers.
“The subsidies are a bad investment," said Michael Thom, an assistant professor in USC's Price School of Public Policy, in a prepared statement. "States pour millions of tax dollars into a program that offers little return."
Arizona doesn't currently offer tax incentives for the industry but spent $23.7 million on subsidies between 2005, when the program started, and 2010, when incentives ended amid a state budget crisis.
Thom, who has led two recent studies on the topic, looked at job growth, wage increases, entertainment-industry output and other factors for each state. "On average, the only benefits were short-term wage gains, mostly to people who already work in the industry," he said. "Job growth was almost non-existent. Market share and industry output didn’t budge.”