by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor | John Locke Foundation
In Alaska, the legislature has passed and sent a bill repealing the state’s tax credits for film production to the governor:
A signature from Gov. Bill Walker is the only thing that remains before Alaska’s film tax subsidy program is shuttered, though it remains unclear if he will side with legislators and approve S.B. 39.
Saturday evening, the Alaska House voted 23-17 to end the tax credit program Saturday evening that started in 2008 and gives tax breaks to production companies that produce commercials, films and television shows in the state.
Meanwhile, Canadian provinces are also reining in their tax credits. In a compromise, Nova Scotia is on the verge of cutting its program by 75 percent, from $24 million to $6 million. Ontario is considering a more modest cut, reducing its foreign film tax credit “from a 25 percent all-spend to 21.5 percent for qualifying production expenditures.”
Since their apex in 2009, when 44 U.S. states had tax credits for film production, over one-fourth of U.S. states are now out of film incentives (a reminder: it may be smaller than what advocates want, but North Carolina still has a program).
Here’s why: the programs return a just handful of change per dollar of revenue spent. This chart illustrates the findings of many other studies conducted for various state agencies or legislatures of their film incentives programs: