It's easy to demand higher levies on the 'rich' when your own industry gets $1.5 billion in government handouts.
At the Democratic National Convention last year, actress Eva Longoria
called for higher taxes on America's rich. Her take: "The Eva Longoria
who worked at Wendy's flipping burgers—she needed a tax break. But the
Eva Longoria who works on movie sets does not."
Actually, nowadays an Eva Longoria who flipped burgers would probably
qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and get a check from the
government rather than pay taxes. It's the movie set where she works
these days that may well be getting the tax break.
With campaign season over, you're not likely to hear stars bringing up
taxes at this weekend's Academy Awards show. But the tax man ought to
come out and take a bow anyway. Of the nine "Best Picture" nominees in
2012, for example, five were filmed on location in states where the
production company received financial incentives. ...
Such state incentives are widespread, and often substantial, but they
don't do much to attract jobs. About $1.5 billion in tax credits and
exemptions, grants, waived fees and other financial inducements went to
the film industry in 2010, according to data analyzed by the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities [State Film Subsidies: Not Much Bang For Too Many Bucks]. Politicians like to offer this largess
because they get photo-ops with celebrities, but the economic payoff is
minuscule. George Mason University's Adam Thierer has called this "a
growing cronyism fiasco" and noted that the number of states involved
skyrocketed to 45 in 2009 from five in 2002.