Bailout or Bust – Film Incentives under threat

There’s an interesting article on the new pressure on Film Incentives (or “Bail-outs for Hollywood,” if you’re on the other side of the aisle) in todays International Herald Tribune.

Tax credits for Hollywood were recently expanded in Florida and North Carolina but are under fresh scrutiny in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Mexico, all of which have new Republican governors reviewing film subsidy programs that were begun under Democratic predecessors.

No big spender has yet pulled out of the subsidy business, though Arizona, Iowa and Kansas have suspended or dropped their relatively small programs. In Missouri, meanwhile, a bipartisan review of all the state‚Äôs tax credits recommended that a film incentive be dropped…

Even New Mexico – which has arguably scored just about as big as anyone from their aggressive offering (really, does anyone actually think it’d have become so meteorically successful otherwise?) – is talking seriously about ditching their program.

Now, I’m no great fan of incentives which I think catapult participating territories into a bidding game that will only end when we’re agreeing to pay in full for movies that shoot in our homelands. But incentives have shown, time and time again, that they do actually work, stimulating jobs and direct local spend – at least in the short term. But in the current economic climate there’s really a horrid sense of inevitability to this discussion that doesn’t bode well for Hollywood.