Yesterday, my colleague Mark Robyn noted that Sarah Palin’s reality show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” accepted $1.2 million in film tax subsidies from the state of Alaska. The program was enacted in 2008, signed into law by then-Alaska Governor Palin. Over 40 states have spent nearly $6 billion in taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. credits and rebates in the last decade subsidizing film and television production.
Our blog post was picked up by some media outlets. Jim Geraghy at National Review Online wrote: “Everything Palin has done has been perfectly legal, but it looks problematic for a crusader for small government to end up collecting a seven-figure paycheck from an endeavor that received a seven-figure subsidy, all set up by a program she signed into law.” Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner wrote: “I’d bet, like many politicians, Palin’s views on the proper role of government becomes more flexible as it comes closer to her own interests.” John Hayward at Human Events: “I’m all in favor of wiping out this maze of targeted incentives and credits, particularly at the federal level. I don’t see why Sarah Palin’s appearance on a television program that took advantage of a state tax creditA tax credit is a provision that reduces a taxpayer’s final tax bill, dollar-for-dollar. A tax credit differs from deductions and exemptions, which reduce taxable income, rather than the taxpayer’s tax bill directly. should automatically make her a supporter of direct federal subsidies, or a hypocrite for opposing them.”
Any suggestion that I somehow did something wrong by signing this legislation is ludicrous. The accusation hinges on the notion that I signed the legislation into law knowing that it would personally benefit me. That’s absurd. Obviously I had no intention of benefiting from it when I signed it into law in 2008 because I had no idea I would be involved in a documentary series years later.[…]
I can’t speak for what other states do, but Alaska’s film production tax credit program is an effective way to incentivize a new industry that would diversify our economy. It worked. The lawmakers’ successful legislation fit Alaska’s economy, as our economy is quite unique from other states’ due to our oil and gas revenue. Perhaps it would behoove people to learn much more about the 49th state’s young economy before making broad accusations about the efficacy of business programs.
More on film tax credits here.Share