Easy come, easy go: Kill Film Tax Credit
Pennsylvania’s dumb enough to give away $60 million in taxpayer money annually to Hollywood via its Film Tax Credit. Hollywood’s smart enough to grab all of that taxpayer money — and as fast as it can.
Now, is Pennsylvania smart enough to not just resist calls to give away an additional $90 million annually to Hollywood, but to end this outrageous boondoggle altogether?
Taxpayers surely hope lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett don’t heed the likes of Dawn Keezer, Pittsburgh Film Office director, who laments having to “turn away business” because the latest $60 million in state film tax credits was gone by August — not even two months into the 2012-13 fiscal year. She, her Greater Philadelphia Film Office counterpart and state Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, say that’s reason to boost credit funding to $150 million for 2013-14 and make a multiyear commitment at that level.
Contrary to their backers’ Hollywood-style hype, such credits don’t pay for themselves, generating only about 20 cents in tax revenue for each dollar spent, according to the Tax Foundation. And as the Commonwealth Foundation has pointed out, Pennsylvania’s credit aids an industry that provides only temporary jobs and employs only a fraction of 1 percent of the Keystone State’s workforce.
There are far better uses for Pennsylvanians’ tax dollars than Hollywood giveaways — roads, bridges and on and on. Rather than expanding it, Harrisburg ought to do away with the Film Tax Credit — period.