Short Honeymoon for Gov, GOP lawmakers

Aaron Flint posted on November 26, 2010 17:01 :: 1137 Views

Depending on who carried the AP story earlier this week, the headline basically read: “Gov, GOP Lawmakers off to Friendly Start.” Well that was a short Honeymoon.

The Billings Gazette has this:

“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” Peterson said Wednesday.

“I don’t know what he’s got to hide. To me, that’s the name of the game. I’m going to play the cards face up, and I’m going to walk the talk, not just talk the talk.”

Schweitzer initially agreed, but by later Tuesday, he had changed his mind. Budgets are a very small part of directors’ jobs, and they are busy with other responsibilities, he said.

Since we’re talking budgets, here’s an idea I haven’t heard discussed in Montana yet: doing away with tax credits for Hollywood film companies to make movies in the state.

As Bloomberg’s Business Week reports:

Since 2005 states have granted $3.5 billion in incentives to makers of films, TV shows, and commercials, according to a Tax Foundation calculation for Bloomberg Businessweek. Now, as states face a total of $72 billion in budget deficits in their coming fiscal years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some are concluding Hollywood gets a lot more than it gives.

Kansas and New Jersey have suspended their tax credits. Rhode Island has capped subsidies at $15 million annually, and Wisconsin’s are set at a measly $500,000 a year. Arizona’s program is set to expire on Dec. 31. Larry Brownell, head of the Association of Film Commissioners International, which represents 41 of the 42 states offering credits, predicts half the states will shelve their programs within a decade.

Of course, I will find it odd if doing away with this tax credit would help Montana save revenue.   Funny thing happens when you start to tax certain activities- people can spend their money elsewhere and thus the revenue isn’t extracted anyway.

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