The Motion Picture Association is disputing the findings of a new USC study that said “billions of dollars in state entertainment industry tax incentives don’t bring promised jobs.” The study was funded by the Koch Foundation, whose billionaire brothers — Charles and David Koch — virtually destroyed the Florida’s film industry four years ago when they backed legislation that ended the state’s long-running tax-credit program.
“It’s no surprise that the research was funded by the Koch Foundation, which has a long history of leading a campaign to eliminate state production incentive programs,” said Vans Stevenson, the MPA’s SVP State Government Affairs. The MPA, which supports tax incentives, said, “It is unfortunate that a well-respected academic institution that counts some of the greatest filmmakers, directors and actors among its alumni, is promoting this fundamentally flawed research.”
Michael Thom, an associate professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy who is the study’s lead author, wrote: “Even in instances where the study finds an uptick in employment, the jobs created come at a very high cost. States are essentially paying billions of dollars to create a relatively small number of jobs, which isn’t a prudent use of taxpayer money.”
According to Thom: “The states investing the most in incentives are not getting the return on investment taxpayers deserve, pure and simple. These incentives cost taxpayers billions of dollars, at a time when that money could be directed to other much needed public services.”
The MPA, which rebranded from MPAA last month, took issue with a similar study Thom produced three years ago that found that state incentives programs aimed at luring productions away from California and New York had “little to no sustained impact on employment or wage growth” in their states. See the rest of this at Deadline.