Audrey Spalding
Apparently Missouri representatives failed to show at the annual Association of Film Commissioners International Show in Los Angeles. Jerry Berger writes that at the show, exhibitors tout state and local film tax incentives in the hopes of luring film production.

"The payoffs can be fantastic," Berger writes, sounding, not surprisingly, like a former film industry public relations employee.

Well, maybe for film producers. The Show-Me Institute has shown that film production jobs have not increased in Missouri since the state began offering its film production tax credit; that Missouri's film tax credit has subsidized questionable expenditures; and that state taxpayers have helped fund the production of  saccharine films.

Other studies have found film production tax credits lacking when it comes to job creation, and there have even been instances of outright fraud associated with state film tax credit programs.

If that is not enough to sway those who love the idea of taxpayer-funded film production, consider the case of Allen Park, Mich.

Michigan's film tax credit program inspired the City of Allen Park to spend nearly $40 million to turn an old building into a film production studio; the state kicked in nearly $3 million.

Today, no films have been made, the promised jobs have not been created, and some estimate that the bonds the city sold to support the project will take 28 years to pay off - costing taxpayers $100 million. The city also has experienced a severe downgrade in its credit rating.

Sadly, Allen Park sounds a lot like the City of Moberly, Mo., and its failed development bet with tax credits and local subsidies. The latest news is that the CEO of Mamtek paid himself $30,000 each month with bonds taken on by the city.

State and local officials have better things to do than to fly to Los Angeles to lure film production teams to Missouri with taxpayer dollars. Why not consider Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's Tax Credit Review Commission's recommendations for tax credit reform? The commission recommended that many of  Missouri's tax credits be capped or eliminated, including the film tax credit.

About the Author

Audrey Spalding