Jindal Signs Film Tax Credit Cap Bill – Lawsuits Will Be Coming [Rant]
It is an issue that has had all the drama of a Hollywood script. The good guys, the bad guys, the ne'r do wells, and of course millions of dollars in other people's money. The film tax credit bill has officially been signed into law. Governor Jindal paid a visit to his office and actually did some work on behalf of the state yesterday. I hope somebody got that on film.
If you're not familiar with exactly what the hoopla is all about, let me give you the five cent explanation. Tax credits are devices that governments use to lure industries to an area. Industries can then sell these tax credits for real money to other businesses. It's kind of convoluted and if you and I did it the IRS would have our butts in jail, but we are simply Americans, we have no rights.
Now back to the Film Tax Credit fiasco, when Louisiana wanted movie producers, television producers, and film makers to come here and spend money, hire people, and create an industry the state government was all about that.The notoriety would be good for the state. Having films and TV shows made in the state would be good for tourism. The people that worked on the films would spend money here and it would increase our tax base. That was the plan.
Then came the reality of lower oil prices and the state started hurting for cash. A little investigation found that maybe the return on the investment of tax credits with the film industry was not that great. So in order to keep from closing down colleges and letting roadways return to gravel the legislature made a 5th grade maneuver.
They did not reduce the number of tax credits issued. They just reduced the number of people who will be allowed to use their tax credits in a given year. For example, you have five dollars and I have five dollars and we both want to spend our five dollars. The legislature will only allow one of us to use our five dollars this year. Both five dollar bills are still good and have value but only one of them has value this year. Anybody see any chance for discrimination, cronyism, foul play, or malfeasance in this scenario? Well that would never happen in Louisiana. That ladies and gentlemen is sarcasm.
Here is the real truth about the film tax credit cap. It's against the law. I am not a lawyer. I don't even know how to screw innocent people but I know this bill is written poorly and it will not stand up to the first legal challenge thrown against it. If you listen closely you can hear the lawyers drawing straws to see who gets the honor of reminding us via the legal system that our legislature is not run by smart people.
There are certainly more than two ways to look at this issue. The film industry was a new and growing industry in the state and this will just about cut the legs out from under it. However, we do need to make sure that colleges and universities can stay open so we can train our children for jobs that no longer exist.
I really like having movies and films produced in our state. I think it does add to our unique Louisiana persona. I understand it takes money to run colleges and universities. I think the legislature has whiffed big time on this issue.I am certain those in the film industry will be upset, who wouldn't be losing millions of dollars.
I do think there is a happy median that should be reached. Give enough tax credits to support what we started with the film industry and manage the money better so we don't have to close colleges. The only people that will benefit out of this legislation are the lawyers. Which in terms of a Hollywood movie is the ending we have seen way too many times in Louisiana.