If you like forking over your hard-earned dollars to woke Hollywood liberals, Arizona lawmakers have you covered.
Last month, the state legislature took on the role of “Minions” for the film industry. As you may recall, the Club previously fought against a movie tax credit bill known as SB1708. After passing the Senate, it failed in the House. But in a shady move, Senate Appropriations Chairman David Gowan resurrected the effort through a strike-everything amendment to HB2156, declaring that Hollywood subsidies were his top issue in budget negotiations and any budget agreement was contingent on its passage. A few days later, the bill passed when a handful of Republicans joined every Democrat to support it. Governor Ducey allowed the bill to become law without his signature on July 6th.
The legislation itself gives movie companies that film in Arizona refundable tax credit subsidies up to 15 percent if they spend up to $10 million in production costs, 17.5 percent if they spend between $10 million and $35 million, and 20 percent if they spend over $35 million. And it gives the opportunity for an additional 2.5 percent if the movie company meets other criteria.
But consider this. The average cost of making a movie is between $100 million and $150 million. That means the vast majority of movie companies will benefit from the highest possible percentage!
- $75 million in 2023
- $100 million in 2024
- And $125 million in 2025 and each year thereafter
Can you believe it? In the midst of historic inflation and a struggling economy, our lawmakers decided it was a good idea to send your money to a billion-dollar industry that doesn’t even need it! (Not even Maverick can save this disaster.)
Those that argued in favor of this bill claim that it will promote workforce development and expansion of the movie industry. But they must have missed the recent study of Hollywood subsidies in New York, Louisiana, Georgia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. (Or maybe they’re living in “La La Land.”) It found that despite $10 billion in taxpayer spending, there was no statistically significant impact on employment.
That’s right. These programs don’t work. They consistently lose money, and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee already projected that this bill would cost the State of Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars!
On top of all this, the legislation is likely unconstitutional, and litigation is inevitable. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the government cannot include “anticipated indirect benefits” such as projected sales and tax revenue as part of the consideration with a private party under the Gift Clause in the Arizona Constitution. In other words, Hollywood dazzling lawmakers with projected economic development leading to increased tax revenue is an “irrelevant indirect benefit” that can’t be included in the consideration.
But perhaps worst of all, we can now expect to see our tax dollars being used to create movies bashing America and our values. That’s become Hollywood’s specialty in recent years. And now because of this bill, it will all be done with the State of Arizona serving as the backdrop.
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