Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Conservative think tank: Utah’s incentive to film John Carter of Mars "might be seen simply as taxpayer money wasted"

The Salt Lake Tribune movie critic and film writer Sean P. Means has written a fascinating piece highlighting “The Silver Screen: Utah’s Subsidies to Hollywood,” a two-page position paper being distributed by The Sutherland Institute, a local “conservative, non-profit, state-based public policy group” founded in 1995, that challenges the logic of Utah’s generous program of financial incentives designed to lure the Hollywood film industry to the state. While the Tribune piece quotes the line “might be seen simply as taxpayer money wasted,” here’s a hilarious snippet posted on the website of The Sutherland Institute:

Film executives “would shoot a movie on Mars if they could get a 25 percent tax break,” a movie director has reported. In fact, the state of Utah recently gave a hefty tax break to the Walt Disney/Pixar studios to film “John Carter of Mars” right here in the Beehive State. While bearing all the glitter of Hollywood, this episode is actually one of the more blatant examples of the crony capitalism that has of late infected Utah and other states, all under the label of economic development. Exposing the problems of this new form of state economic planning, and proposing alternatives, is a major purpose of Sutherland’s Center for Community and Economy.

If I recall correctly, Disney/Pixar received about a $5 million tax credit to film John Carter of Mars (2012) in Utah. Initially, the filming was projected to have a $27 million economic impact on the state and create nearly 400 jobs for Utahns. I don't know if filming has ended or what the final numbers are.

Read the position paper for yourself! Thanks Sean P. Means!

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