Film and Television Production
Tax Credits: The Bad Side
of the Issue
Victor Edward Swanson,
The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 5263
Cheboygan, Michigan 49721
The United States of America
March 7, 2011
Since 2008, I have heard a lot of talk about tax breaks or tax incentives for the television/movie industry from the State of Michigan, and now, as a television history and television reviewer, I pass along my thoughts about the bad of the tax breaks or tax incentives, some of which people do not talk about, and I focus on the television industry mostly but not exclusively.
To help a person understand the television business, I present this section.
Generally speaking, the idea of tax breaks to film producers or television-show producers is about a state's offering film producers and television-show producers tax breaks for producing television shows or films in the state, and the tax breaks for a producer can add up to, for example, thirty-five percent of the money that is spent in the state by the producer, and a state may start up the such tax breaks so that the state can attract business (people making movies or television shows, who will spend money on things offered in the state), so that citizens of the state can acquire jobs offered by the producers, and so that the state can increase the status of a television/movie industry in the state, which could involve, for one, the building of movie studios.
Since 1949, when television syndication really got going, such as with cartoons (such as Crusader Rabbit) and other shows (such as The Cisco Kid), the television industry has worked on the principle that a production company will use money, maybe that from investors, and make filmed or videotaped product, and some product will be good and run a while, and some product will get run and quickly die (get canceled), and, generally speaking, a production company will stay in business because the good product that the production company will make or has made will make enough money to cover what is lost by the bad product, and the good product will cover what money is needed to make new product or develop new product. In essence, to make television product is to gamble, since not every product is made well and you never know for sure what is going to "sell" with the audience, and it is commonplace for producers to have bad ideas and make bad product (dozens and dozens of "pilots" have died each year over the last fifty years or so, and a lot of television programs have died quickly once they were given the green light and were put on the air).
Note: Keep in mind that, in at least early 2011, the Retro Television Network was using The Cisco Kid series, though the series was about sixty years old.
On February 9, 2011, B. J. Hammerstein had a piece published in the Detroit Free Press about the television series entitled Detroit 1-8-7 (Hammerstein, B.J. "'1-8-7' hopes show will go on." Detroit Free Press, 9 February 2011, p. 6A.). In the story, it was noted that the production companies involved in making the series, which happen to be Remainder Men and Mandeville Television, saved about about one-million-dollars on the cost of producing each episode because of tax breaks from the State of Michigan, and each episode cost about three-point-five-million (before the tax breaks). In essence, the State of Michigan covered about a third of the cost of each episode. On a thirteen-episode order of Detroit 1-8-7, the savings was about thirteen-million dollars.
I now look at the production a weekly network series in a generic way, and I look roughly at what happens with each episode. Generally speaking, an episode will be licensed for so much money to a network, and, over the history of television, the rule been the license fee will cover two runs of an episode in some defined "window" (or some agreed-to air-date period), such as over a year. If a series is sold to a network, the production cost for each episode will not be covered by the license fee paid by the network, but even though the license fee for a series that gets aired on a network does not cover the entire production cost, the producers can make money in so many other ways. Besides collecting a license fee for an episode of a series shown on a network in the United States of America, a production company or a distributor can sell the product in other media in the United States of America. Also, a production company can sell an episode to a broadcast entity in Canada, and the episode can be licensed for other media in Canada, such as DVD distribution. Also, the production company can sell an episode to other countries in various media types.
Once you make a television product, such as a series of thirteen episodes of Detroit 1-8-7, you are done--that is, the development and construction of the product is done (I do not consider any language dubbing that might have to be made for other markets). Once the product is made, it might be used for decades and decades and decades, as in the case of "I Love Lucy", The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days, and The Rockford Files, and it can be used for all types of media, from DVD to broadcast. In essence, for a production company, there is a one-time production cost, and unlike almost all other businesses, the production company can sell a production for years and years and make money on the product for years and years.
In the 1950s and 1960s, a television series was likely to have only one executive producer; for example, in the 1960s, Sheldon Leonard was the only executive producer on each episode of I Spy during the three-year run, and in the 1950s, Gordon Oliver was the only executive producer on each episode of Peter Gunn. The "executive producer" is one of the "above-the-line costs" for a television series, and it is a big cost of each episode, and some of the other "above-the-line" jobs are the co-executive producers, the producers, the co-producers, the writers, and the directors. Oh, let us look at CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. For the 2010-2011 season, that series had these persons listed as executive producers on each episode: Don McGill, Cynthia Chvata, William Petersen, Louis Shaw Milito, Jonathan Littman, Carol Mendelsohn, Anthony E. Zuiker, Ann Donahue, and Jerry Bruckheimer. Also, for the 2010-2011 season, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had these "co-executive producers" listed on each episode: Dustin Lee Abraham, David Weddle, Bradley Thompson, Melissa R. Byer, and Treena Hancock. You can see a lot of the people are either "executive producers" or "co-executive producers" on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. If you were to look at the credits of all the series on prime-time television, you will see, generally speaking, almost every series is loaded with executive producers or co-executive producers. I could talk about the numbers of producers, co-producers, associate producers, et cetera on series, but I shall not. Incidentally, today, you will see it is commonplace for a series to have "consulting producers." You will not see "consulting producers" on the credits of television shows of the 1950s.
Some actors in television programs fit in the "above-the-line" category. From time to time, magazines or newspapers will report on how much actors or actresses make as big-name performers in series, and, for example, TV Guide had an article called "Top Earners" in the edition for August 16-29, 2010 ("Top Earners." TV Guide, 16-29 August, 2010, pp. 16-19), and the article covered top earners in "drama" for television and "comedy" for television and other categories. In the case of "drama," the range for the price for each episode was from $40,000 to $400,000+ (the top price of which was tied to Hugh Laurie of House, M.D.), and in the case of "comedy," the range for the price for each episode was from $20,000 to $1.25 million (the top price of which was tied to Charlie Sheen of Two and a Half Men).
Note: If I were to talk about "below-the-line costs," then I would talk about sound people, gaffers, grips, makeup artists, et cetera,.
When the topic of tax breaks for film production is being discussion, there are three main groups of people that will be discussed. If a production is made in Michigan, the groups of people who can make money are "above-the-line" people, "below-the-line" people, and people who are in ancillary business, such as those involved with restaurants, taxi-cab companies, clothing stores, et cetera. It is rather easy to determine how much money people involved in "above-the-line" jobs and "below-the-line" jobs make in salary or waves, but it is very difficult to determine how much ancillary businesses make off of a production, such as when people from other states working on a production go to dinner or get clothing cleaned.
In 1949, television producers did not get big tax breaks for making product, and that was the rule for decades, and then in the early, twenty-first century, there was a skyrocketing in the number of states that began to offer tax breaks to attract film productions and television productions and, supposedly, create jobs and create local film or television industries. Now production companies can find tax breaks all over the place, and they are looking for all the tax breaks that they can get, or they are looking for the best breaks, and that can lead to a fight amongst states to offer the biggest tax breaks to producers of movies or television shows. When the fight to draw film producers or television producers is on, states then can get into an ever increasing rush to give more and more tax breaks to attract producers and keep producers coming, and tax breaks especially geared to film producers and television-show producers can get out of hand. The question is--What are the upper limits on tax breaks, and when do they stop?
In the history of television production centers in the country, it can be said that New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Hollywood/Los Angeles (for filmed productions) were important centers in the late 1940s and very early 1950s, and they were important because they were some of the places where television stations first showed up in the country, and shows produced live at those places might be sent out to other cities to air live, but, really, in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, New York City and Los Angeles were the most important production centers for prime-time television programs (and Los Angeles was more important than New York City was, especially for film productions). Generally speaking, in the 1980s, Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) and Toronto (Ontario, Canada) became popular places for producers to rush off to make shows for network use or syndicated use in the United States of America, when the places could offer reduced production costs to television producers. Since the start of the twenty-first century, because of the rise of tax breaks offered by states of the United States of America, places in Canada have been seeing a cut back in film production and television-show production, and sometimes the drop in revenue is a lot.
Look at a few stories. In February 2007, Hollywoodnorthreport.com published a piece called "Toronto Film Production Down 23% in 2006" (Editor-in-Chief. "Toronto Film Production Down 23% in 2006." Hollywoodnorthreport.com, 14 February 2007, 09:09 a.m.), and it was noted that the revenue was down in Toronto by 23 percent in 2006 over 2005, and it was noted that the peak year was 2001 and a decline had been going on ever since. In November 2009, the Craig Takevchi wrote a piece for Straight.com (British Columbia, Canada) entitled "B.C. film and TV industry rebounds," and it was noted that the 2008-2009 production season was better than the previous season had been, and it noted that there were filings for tax credits of one-pont-three-billion dollars, and the revenue was six-hundred-seventeen-million dollars (Takevchi, Craig. "B.C. film and TV industry rebounds." Straight.com, 5 November 2009.). Then, in May 2010, CBC News (which is based in Canada) put a piece on its Web site entitled "Alberta film, TV production faces decline," and it seemed a big crash was coming to the production industry, and the piece noted that one reason for the problem was being caused by the tax-break battles--everybody trying to offer more freebies than others do--among the provinces in Canada, between Canada and the United States of America, and between Canada and other countries ("Alberta film, TV production faces decline." CBC News, 19 May 2010, 2:40 p.m. ET.).
When government tries or pretends to create jobs, things can go wrong:
On Wednesday, February 17, 2009, the federal government--mostly Barack Obama and the Democrats in the U.S. Congress--made a law called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the publicly stated purpose was to create jobs (the types of jobs was not made clear, though "shovel-ready" was one term used at the time). On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, the Congressional Budget Office (usually a nonpartisan entity) of the government released a report entitled "Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output for October through December 2010," and, for one, the report noted some estimates about how many the jobs were created or "saved" by the existence of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act so far. (It was the Barack Obama administration, which, I show in documents on the Internet is a corrupt administration, began to use the term "saved" jobs and began to supposedly recognize "saved" jobs in calculations about employment in the country). The report from the Congressional Budget Office noted that, it seems, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created or "saved" from 1.3 million to 3.5 million jobs in the country. To me, the wide range is troubling, given you would think it would be more precise and given the idea of determining "saved" jobs is so, so vague, if not nonsense. However, if we say that "3.5 million jobs" were created or "saved," then the cost of each job created or "saved," as estimated by the CBO, is about $228,055, and that is a terribly high amount of money and it was not cost effective way to create or "save" a job, and if we say that "1.5 million jobs" were created or "saved," then the amount used to create or "save" each job is much, much more--somewhere around $545,000. Incidentally, the CBO report said that the cost to the American taxpayer for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is so far $821 billion (or $821,000,000,000) and that the original estimate of what the act would cost is $787 billion. Government does a terrible job of creating jobs, and, really, the more money that government takes in to supposedly create jobs, the more money that leaves the hands of individuals and businesses operate to create jobs other than just government-type jobs, such as "paper pushers." (Cover, Matt. "CBO: Jobs Created or 'Saved' by Stimulus $228,055 Each." Fox Nation, 24 February 2011.)
Information about Ernst & Young report of February 2011:
In this report, you will find references made to a recently released "Ernst & Young" report, and this section provides information about what it is. In February 2011, Ernst & Young issued a study about the 2009 and 2010 film production or television-show production seasons in Michigan to discover the economic impact of the Michigan tax incentive program, which had begun in April 2008 and which provides 30-percent to 42-percent tax breaks (incentives) to people related to, as the report noted, "qualified production expenses incurred in any phase of production for films and TV series produced in Michigan." The report was first presented to the entities that had commissioned it as a group: the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Experience Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau. The report was entitled "Economic and fiscal impacts of the Michigan film tax credit" (February 2011). The report noted much, and I will not report on much of that much here. I note that data for the report came from the Michigan Film Office, whose job it is to promote Michigan as a place to make movies and television shows to people who make films or television shows. Of all the material in the report, I only provide two pieces: "As shown in table ES-1, Michigan film productions qualifying for the credit program spent an estimated $209.3 million and earned $73.0 million in credits in 2009, equal to 35% of total production spending." and "In 2010, spending by qualified film productions increased significantly to $322.6 million, which generated an estimated $117.2 million in film credit costs, equal to 36% of total Michigan production spending."
Author special note: I must report that at least Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Traverse City are "liberal" areas of Michigan or are gathering places for highly liberal persons; for example, the electorate in Detroit supports and regularly votes for communists and socialists, and Michael Moore, the communist and pseudo-documentary maker, frequents Traverse City, such as the State Theatre, where he has taken part in at least one annual film festival each year for several years. [I must report that, around 2009 and 2010 at least, Michael Moore publicly complained about big companies getting tax breaks on film productions (Gantert, Tom. "Michael Moore and Subsidies: A Love-Hate Story." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 29 April 2010.), and yet Michael Moore's 2009 film entitled Capitalism: A Love Story has been tied to between $650,000 and $1,000,000 in tax-break money related to the Michigan tax incentive program for film producers (Vahulle, Lindsay. "Moore hopes to revive old theaters." Traverse City Record-Eagle, 25 July 2010.). On March 2, 2011, Michael Moore made a truly horrendous statement that, for one, suggested all the money of the rich people in the country belongs to everybody in the country and rich people have been hoarding the money from the rest of us, which was truly nonsense thought, and for more information about Michael Moore, you should see my document entitled Never Forget These Media "Darlings" ? -- A Guide for the Individual in the United States of America, which can be reached by link at the end of this document. By the way, around 2011, Michael Moore had several residents, one of which was a very expensive house in Trout Lake, Michigan, and the address to the place, as noted by Frank Beckmann on WJR-AM, Detroit, on March 4, 2011, is: Michael Moore, 222 Southeast Torch Lake Drive, Torch Lake, Michigan. If Michael Moore believes everybody in the country owns what everybody else has, then you seem to own at least a part of that property at 222 Southeast Torch Drive.]
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
While writing this document, I came across the entity known as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and I have to note what it is or is thought to be. Generally speaking, this entity, which was created in 1981, is called a nonpartisan entity that, for one, looks at economic issues, and it is based in Washington, D.C. George Soros is a noted left-wing person who has close ties to Barack Obama, and George Soros has provided funding to the Center on Budget and Public Priorities, as he has to other entities, such as Air America (a no-longer-existing highly liberal radio network), the Center for Reproductive Rights, Democracy Alliance, the Huffington Post, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and YMCA World Office.
Information about support for tax breaks:
The support for tax breaks given by the State of Michigan is a simple idea. A supporter of tax breaks will say that, when you give a tax break to a film producer or a television-show producer who makes product in the state, that producer might hire people who live in the state to do jobs, and that creates jobs. A supporter of tax breaks will say that, when you give a tax break to a film producer or a television-show producer, economic activity is spurred, since the people hired in the state can end up buying things in the state. A supporter of tax breaks will say that, when you give a tax break to a film producer or a television-show producer, those who are working on the production, whether they live in the state or not, will spend money at other businesses, such as restaurants and for taxi cabs. A supporter of tax breaks will say that, when you give a tax break to a film producer or a television-show producer, you spur the creation of other businesses that are directly movie-or-television related that will stay, such as production studios.
A look at the bad of tax breaks:
I now present what can be bad about a state giving tax breaks to film and television production companies.
I have noted that a television series has a one-time production cost, and a producer of a series can make money off that one-time investment, if the product created is good and is wanted by the audience for many years to come. When tax breaks exist for producers for making a product in a particular state, the producers get to spend money to develop and make a product, and then have some of the development money and production money return to them from the state, and yet they get to make money off their product for years and years to come. In other businesses, for the most part, a maker does not get to keep making money on a product with a one-time production cost. The idea of a production companies getting subsidized to make a product and being able to make money off the product for years to come is a bad idea, given that, generally speaking, other business do not get such luxury, and most other industries make things that are more important in life than television shows and movies--clothing, pipe, gears, tape, tires, bolts, et cetera.
Think about this: Most certainly, what is really good for producers and bad for taxpayers is when the tax break is something like fifty percent of the production cost, which has happened in the country, allowing producers to save half of the production cost and potentially make money for years to come, and taxpayers get no long-term revenue.
Let me show another way of thinking about the idea of the previous paragraph. What is bad for states that give tax breaks to producers of films or movies is the states get involved--in way--the "risk" business or in reducing the risk tied to producers. It is not that a state that gives tax breaks has true "investment" at risk, which it might write off on taxes if it were a person, but the state takes away part of the risk that producers have in developing and making a product--producers have less risk to worry about. Other companies, such as fudge makers, do not get a portion of their risk taken away. When a company has less investment at risk, it can make more money in the long run--especially if it makes a product that can be sold over and over again for years. In a way, a producer can say to colleagues behind closed doors, "Remember, we can pass along some of our risk to the highest bidder." The "highest bidder" is the state with the biggest tax break. Yes, when a state is involved in tax breaks for producers of films and television shows, it is involved in the "risk" business for an industry, or the taxpayers of the state are, and that is not good.
When a number states give tax breaks to film producers or television producers, television producers and film producers can use, in essence, coercion to pit state against state to bring out an ever-changing highest bidder, especially over a period of years. I showed early in this document how Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) has been hurt by, for instance, the rise in tax breaks offered by states in the United States of America. When a production company has a number of venues offering tax breaks open to it, it can sort of force states to capitulate and offer ever better deals to keep the production company from going away, and when states begin to lose out to other states in attracting producers, that can cause layoffs and firings in the state, which then has to involved in paying out unemployment benefits.
Incidentally, what are the limits on giving tax breaks?
I have shown how the number of people involved in the "above-the-line" sector of a production has increased over the years, and to me, that is a sign of "bloat" (by the way, not all the executive producers listed for an episode of a series will be the day-to-day "show runner"--for example, an executive producer could be nothing more than an agent for a star of the series, who ends up getting an "executive producer" credit and a piece of the action for doing no real work). When tax breaks are given to production companies, especially a company that produces television episodes, the tax breaks are essentially supporting at least some "bloat." If tax breaks were not to exist, the television/movie industry would have to deal with the problem of possibly too many above-the-line staffers and cut back and deal with the problem by doing, but when too many above-the-line staffers exist, the states that provide tax breaks really have no control over how many above-the-line staffers there are or cannot influence how many there are in a way that might cut down on the cost of productions. I am not a person who believes a state should determine how much a person should make or how many persons can be involved in making something, but when production companies scream that it costs so much--a lot, a lot, a lot--to make productions and states accept the standards of how many people are involved in making productions and how much money is involved it takes to pay the many people, the states end up offering tax breaks that are bigger than amounts that make sense, which, anyway, I believe should be nothing. It should not be the purpose of a state--using taxpayer money--to support businesses when the state has no say so in bloated above-the-line staffs, which, in the case of made-for-television-network products, is a commonplace
Note: I say that, generally speaking, the above-the-line costs--related to people called some type of "producer"--on television series are bloated, and I note that those people get paid a lot and can get paid a lot of residual money over the years.
Many stars, such as Hugh Laurie, Sam Waterston, and Kelly Hu, have supported and do support socialism and communism and supported or support Barack Obama, who, as I have shown with facts in a number of documents that exist at the Web Site for The Hologlobe Press, is at least a communist. When such stars--those who support Barack Obama or Barack Obama's policies--make productions in Michigan, they get, in essence, tax breaks or their careers are subsidized, and if the tax breaks of Michigan can reduce a production cost by about a quarter, as is noted with Detroit 1-8-7, some stars can be subsidized for about $100,000 for each episode, and if I talk about a thirteen-episode commitment, it could be $1,300,000. Because of tax breaks, Michiganians can end up subsidizing anti-Americans--such as by supporting those who circumvent The United States Constitution--for millions and millions and millions of dollars, and then over the decades, the performers can make more money from Michiganians through royalties that they receive for their work that has been saved on film or videotape or on servers and can be used over and over again for fees.
Not only can stars who support such defective ideologies as socialism and communism get subsidized to perpetuate their bad ways but also filmmakers or producers can be subsidized for making their products that indirectly or directly promote communism or socialism or something else that is bad. If they are subsidized by a government of a state, it is the people of the state who are giving the subsidizing, and the people have no direct control on who and who does not get a tax break or whether those who get a tax break are working against the interests of the people or the country. Yes, tax breaks have wonderful benefits for people like Michael Moore, who is associated with the State Theatre in Traverse City and who is a communist, as he has publicly stated, and when such persons such get tax breaks to make films, from which they can make money on for decades (with only that one-time production cost), they do not have to use as much of their money to develop and make something that is designed to, for example, lie to people, as happened in Sicko (from Michael Moore) and An Inconvenient Truth (from Al Gore). In addition, in the 1950s and 1960s, prime-time entertainment shows did not purposely promote to viewers that a particular person should be elected to the U.S. presidency or promote as good a bad U.S. President, but they do now; for example, House, M.D. pushed for a vote for "change" and, in essence, Barack Obama late in the 2007-2008 season. (I will not get into the Law & Order franchise here). If a state gives tax breaks, a producer who might make a production that will promote that people should vote for a particular politician gets a portion of the promotion paid for by at least some people who are opposed to the promotion.
Note: Yes, some states, such as Texas, has rules set about what productions may or may not receive tax breaks based on the proposed content of the productions, but rules can be changed, especially new politicians come to office.
When a state government plays favorites by promoting a single industry, that stirs unrest and makes people not tied to that industry angry, and it sets up a bad precedent, in which there are calls for more and more tax breaks for everyone, and a society cannot work that way and survive. In Michigan, because of the Jennifer Granholm administration, the tax breaks for film producers and television producers were not petty amounts--they were noticeable. So, when do widget makers get such great tax credits for making widgets in Michigan? When do duct makers get such great tax credits for making widgets in Michigan? When do spoon makers get such great tax credits for making spoons in Michigan? When do basket makers get such great tax credits for making spoons in Michigan? When do....
You should expect that states can have limits on how much in tax breaks will be given out in a total year to the television/movie industry, or a state can have a upper limit on the amount of money that it will pay out a tax-break money, and there are limits, which will not be covered here, since I have another topic in mind--censorship. When a state has limits on how much is paid out, there can come a point when a state--more directly some type of film office associated with the state--will say that it has reached a limit and can offer no more tax breaks. Look what can happen, a state film office could get requests for tax breaks from a number of producers, and the people in charge of the state film office could pick and choose who does and who does not get tax breaks--to keep under the limit--and the people in charge of the state film office could not offer tax breaks to those you may have a message in a film to which the people in the state film office disagree--that could discourage the making of a particular film and that is a form of censorship. A citizen always has to wonder about the political beliefs of those who are deciding which producers do and which producers do not get tax breaks.
Note: The tax-incentive system can lead to corruption if film producers or television producers offer brides to people making decisions about tax breaks; the producers offer the bribes so that they can be tax breaks over someone else.
Consider this: So, if most of the states give out tax breaks and basically promote one industry--the film and television industry--is the country going to turn into a country whose main industry is making television shows and movies?
You cannot base the economic future for yourself or a state on the entertainment industry, and the chances of creating a long-lasting production industry in Michigan are weak. I have shown how television/film industry in Vancouver (British Columbia) has been shrinking since the early years of the twenty-first century. The television/movie business is a nomad business in a way, dependent on stories and on who is offering the best tax breaks, whims of producers, and the weather conditions at a location. Remember: Maybe, next year, it will be all the rage to make movies focusing on island themes or jungle themes, so producers will head to the Bahamas, or, maybe, next year, Wyoming will have a tax-break setup designed at fifty-percent give back to producers or sixty percent, which will draw producers from other places to Wyoming.
In essence, when a state singles out one business for tax breaks and promotes it as a business--or the business--that people should get into or really consider getting into, the state devalues the other businesses, and what is extra bad is the state devalues other businesses in the minds of young people--who are often unaware of what work would really suit them in life for the long run, driven by what their minds are and will develop to be, and when a state promotes entertainment through tax breaks, the state is promoting to young people a business that is inherently unstable as an employer and is based on flash. Young people do have a tendency to believe government is right, though it often is not, and when a state promotes a single business like entertainment, it can be promoting a lie and a shallow future that will harm people in the long run, if the people have not gained knowledge in at least another field that will provide employment if their entertainment dreams go bust. Young people do have a tendency to be starry-eyed and not see the reality of life in relation to employment, and that is why it is bad when a government promotes to the starry-eyed with dreams of stardom a choice for life that a person must make for the self and, maybe, suffer with for years and greatly regret for years entering, and also a person who takes up following the promotion by government could lose years of life or waste years of life on chasing something that will never come. (Those who understand the entertainment business know the decades-old idea--Don't give up your day job.)
Note: I have been collecting information about television--from producers to actors and from dates to production costs--since 1972, and I now have at least 130,000 four-inch-by-six-inch index cards with information about television, and I have learned over the years how most actors and actresses have short careers in television (and movies), because producers and casting directors are always looking for something different, and child actors can grow up and turn out to be inappropriate for adult parts or can turn out to be ugly (in relation to Hollywood standards), and actors can become typecast, et cetera. [I could run off a lot of names from the past, but that would be a waste of time, and you would not know the names or the people associated with the names anyway.]
Special note: Those who know television history know how many persons who were "child stars" have had hard times with their lives after they grew out of childhood, and a part of the problem is the persons who were "child stars" know not how to deal with becoming something other than a "star," and only three persons who have had hard times are Dana Plato, Todd Bridges, and Gary Coleman (all of whom worked on Diff'rent Strokes, which was in production in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and two of whom are dead), so when states provide tax credits to film productions that have children involved, the states are helping to promote the idea of children living fantasy lives. It should be up to only the parents of children and the children--without the push by a state to, for one, promote acting as great for children through tax breaks that support and promote the television/movie industry--to make the choice about whether the children should take up acting.
And ask yourself this question: When are there too many studios and production centers around the country, and what happens when there are too many studios and production centers when tax-incentives programs are in place and those tax-incentive programs have to be cut back or eliminated?
A special focus on Mitch Albom, who is a supporter of the Michigan tax incentive program for producers:
In this section, I show several main thoughts tied to Mitch Albom, who has had several books made into television movies, works as a writer for the Detroit Free Press (the left-wing newspaper based in Detroit), hosts a weekday talk show on WJR-AM (Detroit, Michigan), and publicly supported Barack Obama over "Joe the Plumber." [For more information about Mitch Albom, you should see the document entitled T.H.A.T. #55, which can be reached by using this T.H.A.T. #55 link, the document entitled Political Lessons for the Individual Woman and the Individual Man in the United States of America, which can be reached by using this Lessons link, and the document entitled Never Forget These Media "Darlings" ? -- A Guide for the Individual in the United States of America, which can be reached by using the link at the end of this document.]
Mitch Albom, pushes the idea that when film companies make product in Michigan, they create construction jobs and the construction of movie studios, and if Michigan cuts back or eliminates film incentives and if a film entity closes down a movie studio and leaves, construction jobs can be lost; for example, Mitch Albom talked about the subject in his article entitled "Fight the smackdown on film biz's success" (Albom, Mitch. "Fight the smackdown on film biz's success." Detroit Free Press, 20 February 2011, p. 19A.). Yes, construction jobs associated with films made in Michigan can be created in Michigan, such as those the create backdrops, false fronts for buildings, et cetera. I say that the construction jobs that are created by being tied to film or television products do not leave behind houses or apartment buildings that can be used for decades or the jobs do not increase the number of people building new houses or apartments.
I listened to a part of The Mitch Albom Show (of WJR-AM) on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. On the show, Mitch Albom, who was calling in from some far away place, passed along the idea that, if a movie studio closes down in Michigan because the tax incentives are cut or eliminated, it will affect those pension entities that have used some of their money to invest in movie studios being built in Michigan. I say that the entertainment industry is a finical business, and is it not a bad idea for any pension entity to invest money in a movie studio, especially one that has no track record, such as that related to longevity or hits? What must be remembered is, if a company--especially one with a lot of money--shuts down a studio, it can write of bad debt, and an investor should be aware if the investor invests in a high-risk business, the investor has to be aware the business could fail. In the end, Mitch Albom pushed the idea that Michigan should not cut back on tax breaks, because pension entities--though those entities made defective choices about what to investment in--would be hurt, and, really, what Mitch Albom was doing was supporting bad business decisions and unwise business decisions by some people.
On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Mitch Albom was back in Detroit, having recently finished a trip to Haiti, and Mitch Albom was back on duty as host of The Mitch Albom Show, and here are some things that Mitch Albom said:
"...Because he [Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan] just doesn't believe in incentives, even though a report came out that said, for every dollar spent by the tax money, nearly six dollars of economic activity happens here in Michigan, let alone all the people who are working, everybody you know. He just doesn't want it. It's not part of his view of the world. You should give incentives to businesses, and he doesn't care if they, if they go. And they will. And they are. And they, they're already leaving. And we've lost--I would guess--probably lost between fifty- and a hundred-million dollars worth business in the last two days. You tell me how many times you want a public official to do that just by saying something. Of course, remember, the budget isn't passed--it's just a proposal. By saying something, you just cost the state between fifty- and a hundred-million dollars...." [Mitch Albom's data about money came from a recently issued report from a company called Ernst and Young.]
Note: On February 23, 2011, Mitch Albom reported that, on Thursday, February, 24, 2011, there would be a rally-like event at Laurel Manor Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia, Michigan, at 7:30 p.m., for people who support the tax benefits for movie makers and television-show makers.
Also on Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Mitch Albom had a man named Mike Binder (a filmmaker) as an interview guest, and some of what Mike Binder said is:
"...I'm surprised what the governor did. I don't think he drilled down and looked really at the facts and the bedrock of the issue...."
"...I'm a bit of a conservative. Well, I am a conservative. And I think that this is truly about conservative principles. This is all about private industry--small businesses. This is not out building a new wing of government, a new bureau that will be around forever. From the beginning, when we went up and talked to Governor Granholm and the Senators and the House up there. We were talkin' about something that would incentivize a new industry that would go off the kit...."
"...This is not a, a new government program. This is not, this is an incentive to incentivize a business to walk on its own, which is happening, you know. And, and, you know, I, I, to me, there's a lot of avenues that he didn't drill down in to the facts...."
"...I think he would have look at it and said, you know, if I want to wean them off, I'll drop the incentives from, from forty-two--which never really paid anybody forty-two or we didn't pay forty-two percent--down to thirty-five, down to thirty, down to twenty-five. And when you look at the other states that have them, they've had them for years, and they're keepin' 'em goin', and there's a reason for that...."
Yes, Mike Binder made a note that tax incentives for the film industry stay and never go away.
Author special note: Mike Binder pushed the idea that he is "conservative," but I wonder what his definition of "conservative" is. [You are urged to see my document entitled Conservatism for Children and What Conservatism Means, which can be reached by using this Conservatism link, and you are urged to see my document entitled Conservatives and The United States Constitution Versus Enslavers and Enslavism (or Communism, Sharia, Socialism, et cetera), which can be reached by using this Enslavism link.]
"Michigan Film Office 2010 Annual Report -- March 1, 2011":
On March 1, 2011, the Michigan Film Office, a unit of the State of Michigan that has Carrie Jones as the director, released a report about the Michigan tax-incentive program for movie producers and television producers in relation to 2010. The report noted that producers and associates associated with fifty-eight finished productions spent $293,390,995 in Michigan, and the State of Michigan paid out in $115,037,182 in qualified incentives, and the report noted that Michigan hires added up to 5,310 and that there were 8,179 in extras and day players. The report noted: "Since incentives took effect in April 2008, the Film Office and the Department of Treasury have approved a total of $361,139,814 in film incentives on $921,553,104 in total qualified expenditures by productions in Michigan. This represents the 207 projects that have been approved to date, including the 136 projects that have actually wrapped in the state. As of March 1, 2011 a total of $97,827,468 have been paid out in incentives by the state with $63,312,346 in incentives that remain eligible to be claimed. Included in the $263.3 million still eligible to be claimed is the $57,475,260 in incentives already approved for projects set to shoot in 2011." (See "Michigan Film Office 2010 Annual Report -- March 1, 2011" for more information.)
Frank Beckmann's notes about the "Michigan Film Office 2010 Annual Report":
On Thursday, March 3, 2011, Frank Beckmann showed up to work on this weekday radio show on WJR-AM--The Frank Beckmann Program--which begins at 9:00 a.m. (Detroit time), and, in essence, he opened the show by talking about recently issued report by the Michigan Film Office. Frank Beckmann noted that, last year, only seventeen-million (or $17-milliion) went into the state tax coffers because of the film-incentive program, and it noted that it was reported that two-hundred-ninety-three-million dollars (or $293-million) in spending took place in the state. At the time, Frank Beckmann was talking with a WJR-AM newsman (Dick Haefner), and some of what Frank Beckmann said is: "...So we hand a hundred-and-fifteen-million dollars [or $115 million] from the state Treasury. We get seventeen-million dollars back into the state Treasury. Forget this number about how much was spent. It's, it's unimportant, except how much tax money it produced to go back into the Treasury, which was seventeen-million--not two-hundred-ninety-three-million. It's not positive spending of a hundred-and-eighty-million [$180-million]. It is seventeen-million went back into the Treasury from which one-hundred-fifteen-million [$115-million] came out. It's a net minus of ninety-eight-million [$98-million] dollars at a time we can't afford it. That's the hand out. Now, this kind of report comes out of the Michigan Film Office. I have a question, Dick here in my real world--Who does the Michigan Film Office work for? Do they work for us--the people who pay them--or are they working for Hollywood? Who are they working for? My only question." And after there was a little banter between Dick Haefner and Frank Beckmann, Frank Beckmann said: "...I don't think they're working for me! I don't feel like they are, ah, ah, not with a report this. Give me the bottom line on this. The bottom line is we handed out ninety-eight-million dollars from our budget. And you know it! And you know it! And you screenwriters out there know it!"
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy shows up "Michigan Film Office 2010 Annual Report":
On March 4, 2011, James M. Hohman, who is a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, had an article published at the Web site for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy entitled "New Film Office Report Misleads, and Shows Undercounting" (Hohman, James M. "New Film Office Report Misleads and Shows Undercounting." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 4 March 2011.), and here are portions of the report that you will see when you see it:
"Bureaucrats cannot be expected to offer an objective analysis of the programs that they administer. The recently released annual report of the Michigan Film Office confirms this. It shows that the office had been undercounting film incentives in previous reports. And as the cheerleaders for the program it administers, it does not report on the negative consequences of its programs.
"An individual's tax returns are confidential, so policymakers rely on the film office to report on subsidy's financial impact. The 2010 report indicates that the film office has been undercounting credits for the past few years. It shows that there were 62 percent more expenses in the incentive's first two years than reported."
"But there is a difference between approving a credit and awarding it -- approving is authorizing that a film will get credits and the awarding is actually sending those credits out. The new report shows previous years reports only included the awarded credits for companies approved in that year. Since the entire process of being approved credits, filming, and being awarded credits could take over a year, the reports did not include credits approved but not yet awarded for their fiscal years."
Author special note: I urge you to see the article entitled "New Film Office Report Misleads and Shows Undercounting" and other related articles at the Web site for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and when you reach the main page of the Web site, you will see a search-term spot in the upper right-hand corner, and there you can use in one search "Michael Moore" and can use in another search "film" to reach a number of articles.
Data from article or news reports:
For this edition of the document, I have these supplemental pieces of information:
On November 18, 2010, KOB-TV (Albuquerque, New Mexico) reported in a story on its Web site: "A 'Hollywood fantasy' is how the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describes the movie-making tax breaks in New Mexico and 42 other states. The study disputes claims of economic benefits, and says tax rebates drain money from public schools and health care to subsidize Hollywood" (Dyson, Stuart. "Study: Film incentives a bad deal for taxpayers." KOB-TV, 18 November 2010, 7:55 p.m., 8:19 p.m. (updated).
Author note: I have learned the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a left-wing group, and although I found press releases about tax credits....
After the Ernst & Young report was issued, Larry Alexander of the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau sent out a press release on the PR Newswire/US Newswire on February 21, 2011, and one of the statements that he pushed is that the report showed the tax-incentive program "created 3,899 full time equivalent jobs for Michigan residents in 2010...."
On Friday, February 25, 2011, the Detroit Free Press pushed an article entitled "State film industry gears up for a tax credit fight." (Yung, Katherine. "State film industry gears up for a tax credit fight." Detroit Free Press, 25 February 2011, p. 4A.), and one sentence in the article was: "Since the program [related to tax incentives for film makers] began in April 2008, Michigan has approved $304 million in tax credits for 202 productions, paying out $96 million so far."
Information about opposition to tax breaks from others (going beyond that of the author of this document):
It can be said that, in the early years of the twenty-first century, the rush to offer tax breaks to television-show producers and film producers really took off, going from a few to nearly all the states in the nation, and the tax breaks could be such values as twenty-five percent or thirty percent or forty-two percent, and at least one state--Iowa--even ended up offering up to a fifty-percent tax break. Since the start of the twenty-first century, some states have cut back on offering tax breaks to film producers or television-show producers, and Iowa is one state that shut down the program that it had because of corruption (related to the Iowa Film Office), and Louisiana, like Iowa, had fraud involved in the tax-credit program, which resulted in at least one person being sentenced to jail, and even the film-production incentive program in Michigan has been hit by fraud (Calabrese, Dan. "Michigan tax incentives for film produces uncertain results, corruption, and political dispute." The Daily Caller, 5 August 2010, 12:50 a.m., 6:40 p.m. (undated).). This section provides information from opponents of tax breaks for television-show producers and film producers.
In September 2010, Jackie Headapohl wrote a piece entitled "Senate Fiscal Agency study says Michigan film incentives cost the state money" for Mlive.com, and one portion of the piece was: "According to a study by Michigan's Senate Fiscal Agency, a nonpartisan government office that analyses legislation for the Senate, Michigan's film incentives cost the state twice as much money as they bring in. The report states that each direct full-time job created last year in the film industry cost taxpayers more than $190,000. The report analyzed the incentives on the state budget and didn't take into account the impact of the incentives on local government and businesses." (Headapohl, Jackie. "Senate Fiscal Agency study says Michigan film incentives cost the state money." Mlive.com, 18 September 2010, 9:12 a.m.).
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which is based in Midland, Michigan, is defined by the operators as a nonpartisan entity, and the operators note, for one, "The Mackinac Center assists policy makers, scholars, business people, the media and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues. On December 9, 2010, Tom Gantert wrote an article for the Web site for the entity entitled "State Subsidies for Hollywood Dying in Iowa and Drawing Fire In Missouri and Michigan." One statement presented in the article was: "The Mackinac Center for Public Policy also found questionable data in reports on Michigan's tax credit. For example, the Michigan Film Office appeared to include money spent outside the state when it estimated that 35 films spent $125 million in Michigan. A Michigan State University study found 32 films had spent $65.4 million. But that MSU study didn't calculate the film subsidy's cost into its economic model." Other information presented in the document was that, in 2002, five states were using the tax incentives for film producers and television-show producers, and, in 2010, forty-four states were using tax incentives for the film and television industries. In addition, it was reported that, 2009, the State of Iowa killed its incentive program, but the State of Iowa yet owned about $200,000,000 to the film and television industries. (Gantert, Tom. "State Subsidies for Hollywood Dying in Iowa and Drawing Fire In Missouri and Michigan." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 9 December 2010.)
On February 21, 2011, WEYI-TV, Channel 25, Midland, Michigan, did a report on the Michigan film tax-credit program, and the reporter for the report was Dan Armstrong. and Dan Armstrong's report had information from an economist named David Zin and from Michael LaFavie (the director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy), and the material from Michael LaFavie was also presented in a document at the Web site for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that was dated February 22, 2011. In relation to the Ernst & Young report of February 2011 about the Michigan film tax incentives, Michael LaFavie said, as found in both sources, was: 'The [2009 MSU] model treated the program as if the money that was being spent in the state was manna from heaven, that there were not costs associated. That's not an economic reality." The report by WEYI-TV had this piece of information from an economist named David Zin: "Each direct movie job costs the State of Michigan $193,000." What the television-station report did not have that the document from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy had is this information: Michael LaFavie told a television station in Marquette, Michigan--WLUC-TV, Channel 6--that a Senate Fiscal Agency study, "Actually reported that no film incentive as much revenues as it has taken from the treasury." And what the WEYI-TV report had that the document from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy did not have is: Dan Armstrong noted information from the Ernst & Young report that the tax program "generated six dollars for every dollar spent for a total of $812 billion." (Armstrong, Dan. "Michigan film tax incentive program benefit or bust?" UpperMichigansSource.com, 21 February 2011, 6:13 p.m.; "New film subsidy study doesn't show full picture." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, February 22, 2011. 8:44 a.m.)
On March 1, 2011, James Hohman, a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, responded to my request for information about what is bad with the Ernst & Young report of February 2011, and James Hohman noted: "The Ernst and Young study calculates the benefits of film incentive but does not do the same for the costs and then compares the costs to the benefits. In fact, it uses the benefits to calculate how much additional tax revenue may have been generated and then subtracts that from the cost. This is an improper way to tell whether the incentive is helping or hurting the state."
Frank Beckmann interviews James Hohman:
Frank Beckmann has been a staffer at WJR-AM, Detroit, Michigan, since the late 1960s, and Monday, March 7, 2011, Frank Beckmann was hosting his weekday talk show on WJR-AM, as he had for a number of years. On this day, Frank Beckmann interviewed James Hohman, a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The theme was tax credits for people who make movies or television shows in Michigan and the recently released report from the Michigan Film Office, and here is a text version of the interview:
Frank Beckmann: "...James, how are ya?"
James Hohman: "I'm doin' all right, Frank. How are you?"
Frank Beckmann: Good. Nice to talk with you again. So what did you see in these latest numbers that really caught your eye?"
James Hohman: "Yeah. The first two reports stated that, ah, there were only a hundred-and-sixteen-point-seven-million worth of film credits that have been awarded, and this latest report, ah, which required more information due to some laws that were passed last year, also included, ah, beyond those requirements a three-year analysis that said how much have we approved, awarded, and given out so far. And because there are three events, ah, that happened. You have approved incentives. You award it. And then they redeem it. Ah, this last one said that they're weren't a hundred-and-sixteen-point-seven-million--there were three-hundred-and-sixty-one, ah, million in incentives awarded. And when we tracked that back to the, ah, last three reports ah, we found that seventy-two-million was unaccounted for."
Frank Beckmann: "Na, ah, I was told by a, by a member of the Senate Fiscal Agency that part of the problem in trying to analyze all these numbers is that very system that you described, that first the credits are approved, and you may get reporting on the approvals, may get it on the amount actually spent, ah, and, and so it's difficult to keep apples and apples together. Could this simply be that, dah, finally, all the numbers have been combined into one, and that's why we didn't realized that this much had been spent."
James Hohman: "Well, in the first year, ah, the, ah, they listed forty-seven-point-nine-million worth of, ah, incentives, and they listed that as, ah, 'The film industry refundable tax credits for 2008.' So, you're not even sure whether that's how much has been approved, how has been awarded, or how much has been received. And considering that, ah, ah, that verification audit process takes a while, it was probably awarded. Um, but the 2009 report was listed estimated credits for films approved in Mich, in, in 2009, which means that if, eh, eh, the credits for the 2008 report were not, ah, redeemed until 2009, they wouldn't have been included in that reports. We might have missed some, ah, some money in that."
Frank Beckmann: "And, dah, your bottom line is these numbers just don't add up overall, and you...that the seventy-two-million--you said 'missing'--ah, um, how, how do we better define that?"
James Hohman: "I. Well, we know that, ah, from the Treasury Department that, dah, they've, they have, ah, approved or awarded, ah, three-hundred-sixty-one-million, and we just don't know whether that happened in 2008, 2009, or 2010. But the film-industry supporters have been pointing at these numbers and say--Look, we're, we haven't cost a hundred-fifteen-million each year that we're, we were expected, we've only cost a hundred-and-sixteen over two mill, ah, over two years. But they deflated those figures. Ah, whether that was for 2008, 2009, or 2010 is still unknown."
Frank Beckmann: "And so now we have a solid three-year figure, and it's three-hundred-sixty-one-million dollars were handed out."
James Hohman: "Yeah."
Frank Beckmann: "Now, we do know that, that the amount that went back into Treasury did not grow, did it?"
James Hohman: "Ah, no. They. There have been a couple of ways that they've imputed how much these, ah, film-industry people have cost. But I, I'm not aware of the Treasury actually keeps track of that. It's only these studies by Ernst & Young, the Senate Fiscal Agency that tries to calculate exactly how much tax liability these, ah, film producers have. Ah, but, I mean, Frank, if I gave you a five, if, if I was the Michigan Treasury and I gave you give dollars, I gave you five dollars, and if you went out a spent that, ah, on something that was taxable, I still spent five dollars."
Frank Beckmann: "Well, right. And, and all you got back in return was thirty cents--six percent of what I spent."
James Hohman: "Exactly."
Frank Beckmann: "So, ah, you, you lose eighty-four percent of that money right up front. That's, and that's why its so unsustainable. If you, if, the, the number that the supporters of the subsidy continue to emphasis is economic activity, economic activity, but that isn't the money that goes back into the tax coffers. Only six percent of it does, and you would have to tax that money at about thirty percent to get our investment back."
James Hohman: "And the, ah, the fact of the matter is we have an awful lot economic activity in the state that goes un, unsubsidized. Ah, so, I mean, what's the return on investment for that?"
Frank Beckmann: "Huh hum. Well, and, dah, the, ah, story goes on. But the bottom line is we have now spent three-hundred-sixty-one-million, you say, in the, ah, film subsidy program. And this is for a state that has a one-point-five-billion dollar budget deficit."
In essence, that was the interview.
Information from the Center on Budget and Public Priorities:
In this document, I have already talked about the Center on Budget and Public Priorities, and since I now it is a left-wing entity, being tied to George Soros at the very least, I wonder about how it compiles reports, the purpose of the entity's reports, and the quality of its reports, but I note that the Center on Budget and Public Priorities has done research on the value of tax incentives made available to film producers and television-show producers, and I have seen such documents from the entity as "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States," which was dated November 17, 2010, and "State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks," which was written by Robert Tannenwald and was dated December 9, 2010, and my telling you about the Center on Budget and Public Priorities makes you aware I am aware of the entity and some of the material its has issued to the public. In the document entitled "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States," the Center on Budget and Public Priorities put forth, for example, information from a 2008 study by the Massachusetts of Department of Revenue, such as, as presented in the press release, "Massachusetts lost $88,000 in tax revenue for every new job created by the Commonwealth's film tax credit and filled by a Massachusetts resident," "Every dollar of state tax revenue lost because of the film tax credit generated less than 69 cents in income for the Commonwealth's residents," and "For every dollar of film tax credits awarded to film producers, the Commonwealth gained only $0.16 in revenue, mostly in the form of income tax revenues withheld from film company employees. The remaining $0.84 had to be financed by higher taxes elsewhere or cuts in public services," and those quotations were followed by this material: "Film subsidies fail to produce promised benefits in large part because film makers usually give the best jobs to scare, highly paid talent brought in from other states. Jobs for in-state residents tend to be spotty, part-time, and relatively low-paying work that is unlikely to build the foundations of strong economic development in the long term...." The document entitled "State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks" is a much longer document than "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States" is, and the former document notes such things as the supporters of tax incentives based their arguments for tax incentives on "flawed studies," and the document entitled "State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks" does expand on ideas of "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States," but does offer information that "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States" does not, such as that which puts down an Ernst & Young study about the tax incentives in New Mexico, hinting that there was, for example in the Ernst & Young report an exaggeration of the real impact on tourism and spending by tourists and a "lack of transparency" in the way in which the Ernst & Young document had been created and presented.
Note: If you wish to learn more details contained within the two documents tied to the Center on Budget and Public Priorities, you will have to track them down.
The end should be here:
Some people are pushing hard to make Michigan their entertainment paradise, even though when there were no tax breaks, Michigan was not a hobnobbing place for producers and stars, who might have met for fun or to make deals, given Michigan does not have a lot not beach weather each year where thousands of starlets can prance around in tiny bikinis, and I say that Michigan will never be a big hobnobbing place and attempts to make Michigan a hobnobbing place is a waste of money and time since Michigan is not naturally such a place. What is needed for Michigan is a tax climate that pleases people who are involved in all types of businesses and who are willing to gamble on starting all types businesses, and Michigan does not need a tax climate geared to a single industry and to be another of the states in the country that will have tax breaks for producers and television shows for what will probably be forever, especially if taxpayer money could not be involved in promoting a particularly political ideology pushed by the makers of films and television shows, which has happened and can happen. If the tax breaks get cut or if the tax breaks get eliminated in Michigan, jobs associated directly or indirectly to the entertainment industry could be lost, but those jobs and ancillary jobs could quickly disappear because of a lot of other reasons, and if the tax breaks go, the state will still be around.
And a person should not worry about how the television/movie industry will survive, given that, from the late 1800s to about 2000, almost all states had no special tax incentives for movie producers or television-show producers, and productions are made all over the country, even in Michigan, where Anatomy of a Murder (a 1959 theatrical movie) and Tiger Town (a 1983 made-for cable movie about the Detroit Tigers that had been commissioned by the Disney Channel) were made, and the television/movie industry survived over all those decades, and the television/movie industry will survive without the tax incentives, and some people will still produce movies and television shows in Michigan.
P.S. #1: I have heard the idea that states should be involved in profit sharing in relation to the production of movies or television shows, since they give tax breaks. That is a very bad idea. For one, that idea could lead to politicians being involved in what movies or television shows do and do not get made, and politicians could then be, at least indirectly, involved in censorship by deciding what and what does not get made and what does and does not get said, and, at least, government would be have a stake in making money supporting one industry even more over other industries. Then, would not other industries want to be involved in having government involved in agreements in which a state gets profit sharing in exchange for something and then you now have a bad country?
P.S. #2: To learn about several locally made productions that were promoted in a television special on WMYD-HD, Channel 20, which was called Detroit Short Takes and was first shown on December 24, 2010, you should see the document entitled T.H.A.T. #81, which can be reached by using this link: T.H.A.T. #81.
"Alberta film, TV production faces decline." CBC News, 19 May 2010, 2:40 p.m. ET.
"Center on Budget and Policy Priorities." Wikipedia.com, 22 February 2011.
"New Film Subsidy Study Doesn't Show Full Picture." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 22 February 2011, 8:44 a.m.
"Organizations Funded Directly by George Soros and his Open Society Institute." Key Wiki, 23 January 2011.
"Top Earners." TV Guide, 16-29 August, 2010, pp. 16-19.
Albom, Mitch. "Fight the smackdown on film biz's success." Detroit Free Press, 20 February 2011, p. 19A.
Armstrong, Dan. "Michigan film tax incentive program benefit or bust?" UpperMichigansSource.com, 21 February 2011, 6:13 p.m.
The Associated Press (posted by Caroline Rooney). "Missouri film producers upset by proposed budget cuts." NBCActionNews.com (KSHB-TV, Kansas City), 30 January 2011.
Boshart, Rod. "Iowa lawmakers debate film tax-credit issue." Quad-City Times, 19 March 2010, 8:25 p.m.
Calabrese, Dan. "Michigan tax incentives for film produces uncertain results, corruption, and political dispute." The Daily Caller, 5 August 2010, 12:50 a.m., 6:40 p.m. (undated).
Cieply, Michael. "State Backing Film Says Cannibal Is Deal-Breaker." The New York Times, 14 June 2010.
Cover, Matt. "CBO: Jobs Created or 'Saved' by Stimulus $228,055 Each." Fox Nation, 24 February 2011.
Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. "New Ernst & Young Report Shows Positive ROI From Michigan's Fast Growing Film and Television Industry." PRNewswire/USNewswire, 21 February 2011.
Editor-in-Chief. "Toronto Film Production Down 23% in 2006." Hollywoodnorthreport.com, 14 February 2007, 09:09 a.m.
Gantert, Tom. "Michael Moore and Subsidies: A Love-Hate Story." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 29 April 2010.
Gantert, Tom. "Michael Moore's 'Greed' Message Doesn't Apply to His Film's Financiers." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 8 February 2010.
Gantert, Tom. "State Subsidies for Hollywood Dying in Iowa and Drawing Fire In Missouri and Michigan." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 9 December 2010.
Glover, Mike. "Democrats to trim state tax credits." The Hawk Eye, 12 March 2010.
Hammerstein, B.J. "'1-8-7' hopes show will go on." Detroit Free Press, 9 February 2011, p. 6A.
Headapohl, Jackie. "Senate Fiscal Agency study says Michigan film incentives cost the state money." Mlive.com, 18 September 2010, 9:12 a.m.
Hohman, James M. "New Film Office Report Misleads and Shows Undercounting." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 4 March 2011.
Jahr, Michael. "Analyis: Michael Moore Appears Ready to Take Film Subsidy for Anti-Subsidy Film." Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 29 July 2010.
Maddaus, Gene. "States May Slash Subsidies For Hollywood." LA Weekly, 20 January 2011, 7:30 a.m.
Matters, Phil. "More States Yell 'Cut' on Film Tax Credits." Cutback, 6 October 2009, 2:51 p.m.
Patton, Zach. "The Value of Movie Tax Incentives." Governing (magazine), June 2010.
Proffit, Steve. "Film Tax Credits: Some States Reconsider." KCET, 27 January 2010.
Rood, Lee. "Criminal charges filed in Iowa film tax-credit scandal." DesMoinesRegister.com, 8 February 2010, 06:00 p.m.
Takevchi, Craig. "B.C. film and TV industry rebounds." Straight.com, 5 November 2009.
Verrier, Richard. "Iowa film tax credit program racked by scandal." Los Angeles Times, 18 January 2011, 4:55 p.m.
Vahulle, Lindsay. "Moore hopes to revive old theaters." Traverse City Record-Eagle, 25 July 2010.
Wedge, David. "Massachusetts film industry 'bouncing back.'" The Boston Herald, 25 February 2011.
Yung, Katherine. "State film industry gears up for a tax credit fight." Detroit Free Press, 25 February 2011, p. 4A.
Note: On Friday, February 25, 2011, I found a short document on the Internet entitled "Film Incentives in Michigan" under Budget&Tax News, and the only date on it was September 1, 2010, and it had a quotation by David Zin (who, on February 25, 2011, was the chief economist for the Senate Fiscal Agency of the State of Michigan).
Note: On Friday, February 25, 2011, I went to the Web site for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and I saw a document entitled "Press Release: Tax Subsidies to Attract Film and TV Productions Don't Pay Off for States," which was dated November 17, 2010.
Note: On Friday, February 25, 2010, I went to the Web site for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and I saw a document entitled "State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks," which was written by Robert Tannenwald and was dated December 9, 2010.
Note: This document was first posted on the Internet on: March 2, 2011.
Note: On the Internet, this document is known as: www.hologlobepress.com/tv-tax.htm.
For further reading, you should see
the many television-related documents
that exist at the Web Site for The
Hologlobe Press, which an be
found by seeing the list of documents
on the Site-Summary Page, which can
be reached by using this link: T.H.A.T..
For further reading, you should see the
document entitled Never Forget These
Media "Darlings" ? -- A Guide for
the Individual in the United States
of America, which can be reached
by using this link: Media.
For further reading, you should see the
many other documents that exist at
the Web site for The Hologlobe Press,
which can be reached through the Site-
Summary Page, the link to which is: