by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
The Great Gatsby is a story set in Long Island. The state of New York offers production companies an even more aggressive array of film incentives than North Carolina, including a 30 percent, fully refundable tax credit. This is a no-brainer, right? “Gatsby” would obviously be filmed in its natural home.
Well, it’s not so simple. As I explained in my Spotlight report on North Carolina’s film incentives, not only do U.S. states compete with each other in a race to the bottom to lure film production companies in, but they also compete with foreign countries.
“Gatsby,” set in New York, was filmed in Australia. Now New York wants even more aggressive film incentives. Just as North Carolina saw a North Carolina-set project go to Georgia and then upped our incentives, causing Minnesota to witness a Minnesota-set project come here and then upped its incentives …
So we beat on, ceaselessly racing to the bottom.