August 08, 2002

Gray Davis' Corporate Welfa...

Gray Davis' Corporate Welfare for Hollywood: Fact 1) -- The state of California, which is governed by Gray Davis, has a budget deficit this year of $23.6 billion, or one-quarter of its revenue. "A deficit which," says The Economist, "if it were being run by a country, would send the currency crashing and usher in the International Monetary Fund."

Fact 2) -- Los Angeles County, faced with a health-care deficit nearing $800 million, has voted to close down 11 clinics and drastically reduce already-threadbare care. A billion-dollar federal bailout in 1995 kept things afloat, but nothing similar is expected from George Bush. Or Gray Davis.

Fact 3) -- Yesterday, a Gray Davis-sponsored bill, that would give a $650 million tax break to Hollywood, passed a key Senate committee. It's to ostensibly stem "runaway production" to places like Canada. Never mind that Hollywood is a famously resilient cluster of talent, that you can re-create most every possible setting within a one-hour drive, that the dollar-bubble has finally been pricked, and that this money could be spent on keeping hospitals open, rather than lining the pockets of the hyper-rich.

Humorously, I expect that this story -- about rich lefty Hollywood types asking the governor to raise taxes on the rich -- will get more play. Well, I didn't see those names denouncing the Hollywood bailout, and the punchline is near the end of the story: "Davis, who believes that the state has become too reliant on personal income tax revenues, also opposes the proposal."

Posted by at August 8, 2002 01:21 PM
Comments

Matt:
Runaway production costs the blue collar and craft industries in town, not the "hyper-rich" studio execs, stars, and producers. The rich guys get their money whether a film is shot here in LA or in Toronto. This bill won't make any difference to them.
This tax break will be good for the So CA economy, and good for the working people of the industry who have been suffering for several years now. You should have done a little more research on this topic. What are you and Layne doing these days? Reading the FoxNews website and going with it? (his Gore Bashing post was just as ill-informed as this one) Aim higher boys!
Don't let all these whining lefties get to you. Keep after Gov. Davis, but pick your targets with a little more care. The rich lefties you reference from the other story are not against the tax break because they realize it will benefit the middle class working man in Hollywood, and isn't that what we Dems are supposed to be in favor of?

Posted by: Brian Linse at August 8, 2002 08:28 PM

I *knew* I'd smoke you out on this one, B.L.! I thought about saying something like "some of my best friends are blue-collar Hollywood grunts suffering from runaway production," but I was getting too excited by my populism.

I'm pro-trade, anti-subsidies, period. I think Hollywood will survive movie-of-the-week defections to Toronto, based on Cluster Theory, location, and the falling dollar. Barry Diller's been trying to start "the new Hollywood" for years, but turns out it's real hard to get freakers like Brian Linse to move to the Southeast or wherever.

We're in a terrible budget crisis, and I'm much more concerned about the huge numbers of uninsured poor who are going to have far less access to the only health-care they ever really use -- the emergency room.

Why should Hollywood get a special tax break, and not the garment industry? Why not defense? Who & what is responsible for the high costs of production, and how much of it is the state government's responsibility to address that?

I am confident that Southern California can have thriving industry without tax breaks and subsidies. People want to live here, especially those in the media/entertainment industries. There is no logical end to the never-ending threat of "Toronto" -- in fact, my editor in Toronto says that now *Johannesburg* is "the new Toronto" ...

There is no way in hell that Hollywood will be farmed out to a foreign country, no matter how many people realize it's much cheaper to shoot in Budapest (which, incidentally, bothers me little -- bully for our Hungarian friends!).

I am certainly not an expert on any of this, but I'm as against it on principle as spending tax money on building a new football stadium -- it's corporate welfare, no matter how economically stimulating you think it may be, and we are currently experiencing a budget catastrophe with many real-world after-effects much more grave than de-localization of some filmed entertainment. I don't need FoxNews, which I do not regularly read nor watch, to tell me that.

And, as you know, I do not belong to any category called "we Dems" ....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 8, 2002 09:31 PM

as one who makes a living (or tries to) in the "biz" as we say, i am in favor of tax credits to keep production in the state. to be honest, i am not against productions going to other states in the us to save money, besides, as a movie/tv consumer, i am always happy to see new backgrounds/cities/light in the product. but as an american, i am naturally and even knee-jerkedly against any companies taking any jobs away from us citizens (especially us actor-americans).

Posted by: skippy at August 10, 2002 11:53 PM
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eal hard to get freakers like Brian Linse to move to the Southeast or wherever.

We're in a terrible budget crisis, and I'm much more concerned about the huge numbers of uninsured poor who are going to have far less access to the only health-care they ever really use -- the emergency room.

Why should Hollywood get a special tax break, and not the garment industry? Why not defense? Who & what is responsible for the high costs of production, and how much of it is the state government's responsibility to address that?

I am confident that Southern California can have thriving industry without tax breaks and subsidies. People want to live here, especially those in the media/entertainment industries. There is no logical end to the never-ending threat of "Toronto" -- in fact, my editor in Toronto says that now *Johannesburg* is "the new Toronto" ...

There is no way in hell that Hollywood will be farmed out to a foreign country, no matter how many people realize it's much cheaper to shoot in Budapest (which, incidentally, bothers me little -- bully for our Hungarian friends!).

I am certainly not an expert on any of this, but I'm as against it on principle as spending tax money on building a new football stadium -- it's corporate welfare, no matter how economically stimulating you think it may be, and we are currently experiencing a budget catastrophe with many real-world after-effects much more grave than de-localization of some filmed entertainment. I don't need FoxNews, which I do not regularly read nor watch, to tell me that.

And, as you know, I do not belong to any category called "we Dems" ....

Posted by: Matt Welch at August 8, 2002 09:31 PM

as one who makes a living (or tries to) in the "biz" as we say, i am in favor of tax credits to keep production in the state. to be honest, i am not against productions going to other states in the us to save money, besides, as a movie/tv consumer, i am always happy to see new backgrounds/cities/light in the product. but as an american, i am naturally and even knee-jerkedly against any companies taking any jobs away from us citizens (especially us actor-americans).

Posted by: skippy at August 10, 2002 11:53 PM
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