by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
The Atlanta Business Chronicle writes:
Georgia’s controversial “heartbeat bill” has not gone unnoticed in Hollywood.
On Friday, actress and “Project Runway: All Stars” host Alyssa Milanotweeted that the bill, which would limit abortions to six weeks after conception, would “strip women of their bodily autonomy.”
Milano called on Hollywood to boycott Georgia over the bill, saying “Hollywood! We should stop feeding the Georgia economy.”
Here’s my question: What would make Hollywood types think they are “feeding the Georgia economy”? That’s just silly.
Oh. Right. Georgia politicians.
The Peach State runs one of the most aggressive state film incentives in the country, and they back it with some of the most ridiculous economic impact analysis imaginable.
How ridiculous? They argued that their film incentive brought in $7 billion in 2016. Based on what? They took the amount of incentivized film spending ($2 billion) and multiplied it by 3.57. Based on what? Based on the fact that they’ve used that multiplier since 1973, even though they don’t remember why.
Other states, North Carolina included, found that their state incentives for film productions were net revenue-losers for the state.
But Georgia’s policymakers got people believing (and of course the film and entertainment industry knows how to embellish with special effects). They don’t want any checking up on their claims, either; a 2017 Pew Charitable Trusts report identified Georgia as a “trailing” state in evaluating tax incentives: “Georgia lacks a process for evaluating the film tax credit and other incentives.”
How effective has this campaign been? Last year, Time Magazine published a huge feature on “How Georgia Became the Hollywood of the South.”
The film industry really isn’t a $7 billion/year industry in Georgia, no matter what politicians say. But since politicians are saying it, Hollywood types can run with it. And they can try to leverage it to promote their own political ends.
Who’s going to call them on it? The politicians would first have to admit publicly they’ve been pulling a fast one on the voters.
They can’t do that. So instead they’ll have to listen to hysterics from the likes of Milano, based in the fatuous belief her industry can cripple Georgia’s economy just because she disagrees with a bill before the legislature.
Maybe North Carolina can tell them how dumb it is to let outside groups dictate state policy.