Movies

States give Hollywood a bonanza in tax breaks

MUMBAI

: Many states that are cutting spending on schools, roads and other basics have been lavishing hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives on Hollywood studios to lure TV and movie productions - this, despite scant evidence that taxpayers come out ahead on such deals.

A recent survey found that states competing for projects handed out $1.8 billion in tax breaks and other advantages to the entertainment industry from 2006 through 2008.


Several states have even sweetened their incentives recently or are considering doing so, for fear that if they don‘t land the next major motion picture, someone else will.


"The industry has been able to play off North Carolina against South Carolina against Louisiana against Georgia. Louisiana raises its incentives, and it puts pressure on South Carolina, North Carolina and other states to do likewise," said Bob Orr, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice who heads an anti-incentives group called the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law.


Some states argue that the tax breaks pay for themselves in revenue. Many others contend that even if tax revenue takes a hit, the film industry boosts their economies with an infusion of cash and jobs.

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