by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
Here is an update from Brett Kittredge at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy:
Mississippi lawmakers have begun to scale back on the “handouts to Hollywood.” Last year, lawmakers chose not to extend the non-resident payroll portion of the incentives program. This previously allowed for a rebate on payroll paid to cast and crew members who are not Mississippi residents.
But we still have two incentives on the books. One is the Mississippi Investment Rebate, which offers a 25 percent rebate on purchases from state vendors and companies. The other is the Resident Payroll Rebate, which offers a 30 percent cash rebate on payroll paid to resident cast and crew members.
And old habits die hard. The House voted to bring back the incentives this past session. The bill didn’t make it through the Senate and that incentive is still dead.
Mississippi is moving in the right direction and they are joined by other states. While all but six states had film incentives a decade ago, the number is now up to 19. Mississippi can be number 20 by removing the incentives currently on the books.
Research into film incentives finds that those who benefit from government giveaways are the ones the government gives the funding to. Film incentives aren’t a good policy to grow a state’s economy; they’re merely a good way to benefit outside film production companies.