Does Hollywood really need $400 million in tax credits for producing its crappy blockbuster movies? That is the argument being put forth by the industry group Film-LA:
In a study released today on feature film production in California in 2013, FilmL.A. has added its voice to the chorus wanting an increase to the entertainment industry tax incentives the Golden State offers. While the opinion is nothing new for the nonprofit local-permitting organization, the basis of its latest argument is: We need more blockbusters.
According to FilmL.A.’s 6-months-in-the-making report, California is tied for second place with the entire country of Canada for the location where most feature films released last year were made. Introduced in 2009, California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program does not allow pics with budgets of more than $75 million to be eligible for its annual lottery. “For a program intended to help reverse runaway production, California’s incentive entirely ignores film projects carrying the greatest economic value with the greatest propensity to run away: big‐budget features,” says the 2013 Feature Film Production Report.
Surely there are more important programs to fund than Hollywood blockbuster movies. For example, the $400 million film credit dwarfs the $100 million annual spending for the state’s bike/ped program. I make that comparison because Film-LA recently had a green bike lane removed from Spring Street.
But what about all the Teamsters Local 399 jobs that might be lost to places like Toronto or Vancouver? Think about it: tax credits are being used to subsidize the production of crappy Hollywood blockbusters, when that money could be spent hiring workers to develop new infrastructure, green technology, housing, etc. You know, things that have an actual social benefit for Californians.