Film Tax Credits

In the last decade, state governments have enacted numerous movie production incentives (MPIs), including tax credits for film production. MPIs are popular with state officials and many of their constituents but often escape routine oversight about benefits, costs and activities. Based on fanciful estimates of economic activity and tax revenue, states invest in movie production projects with small returns and take unnecessary risks with taxpayer dollars.

MPIs fail to live up to their promises to encourage economic growth overall and to raise tax revenue. States claim MPIs create jobs, but the jobs created are mostly temporary positions—often transplanted from other states—with limited options for upward mobility. Furthermore, the competition among states transfers a large portion of potential gains to the movie industry, not to local businesses or state coffers.

Related Articles

Testimony on Film Tax Incentives to the Oklahoma Task Force on State Tax Credits and Economic Incentives

October 12, 2011

California Extends Film Tax Credit Program by One Year

October 12, 2011

New Jersey Governor Vetoes Film Tax Credit Award to “Jersey Shore”

September 29, 2011

Motion Picture Association Attacks Tax Foundation Critique of Film Tax Subsidies

July 1, 2011

Motion Picture Association Attacks Tax Foundation Critique of Film Tax Subsidies

June 29, 2011

Nevada Film Tax Credit Proposal Dead

June 17, 2011

New Report: More States Abandoning Film Tax Incentives

June 3, 2011

More States Abandon Film Tax Incentives as Programs’ Ineffectiveness Becomes More Apparent

June 2, 2011

Michigan Governor Proposes Cap on Film Tax Credit

May 18, 2011

FilmWorks Blog Criticizes Tax Foundation on Industry’s Dependence on Film Tax Credits

April 26, 2011

Film Tax Credits Getting Attention in Some States

April 15, 2011

Palin Responds to Film Tax Credit News

March 30, 2011

Sarah Palin’s Alaska Film Tax Credit Funds “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”

March 29, 2011

Film Production Incentives: a Game California Shouldn’t Play (Testimony Before California Legislature)

March 21, 2011

Tax Foundation Scholar Testifies on California Film Tax Credits

March 21, 2011

Arizona and Idaho Look Again to Film Tax Credits

March 10, 2011

Bill Clinton Promotes Tax Breaks for the Film Industry

February 17, 2011

New Mexico and Other States Reconsidering Expensive Film Tax Subsidy Programs

February 16, 2011

Movie Ticket Tax Proposed in Colorado

February 11, 2011

Film Tax Credits Are a Bad Deal: Massachusetts Edition

January 13, 2011