Editorial: Find a new script

Boston Herald Editorial Staff
November 14, 2009

It’s a pity the developers of a major film soundstage project planned for Plymouth have lost their financing, just as the commonwealth’s profile as a go-to state for movie productions is on the rise.

But neither the developers nor their supporters on Beacon Hill ought to get any ideas about taxpayers stepping into the breach.

At this point the Patrick administration has said that it has had discussions with the developers of Plymouth Rock Studios only about “whether there are other ways through other programs that we might be able to provide some assistance on public infrastructure,” according to the State House News Service.

Low-cost loans, maybe, that could be important as the studio seeks to secure another comprehensive, private financing deal?

And Gov. Deval Patrick’s secretary of administration and finance, Jay Gonzalez, told the News Service that any state support would only be “a small piece” of the funding the developer needs.

We’ll hold him to it.

That’s because around here when the words “taxpayer dollars” and “movie soundstage” are used in the same sentence, we have flashbacks to that disastrous effort to build a publicly financed facility at Bunker Hill Community College back in the ’90s – the very definition of a boondoggle that was all about buying union support and making money for the Teamsters.

The state rejected an earlier request for $50 million for this Plymouth studio project through a special state borrowing program, saying it wouldn’t generate enough in tax revenue to justify the investment. But as the movie business starts to pick up even more, could there be a temptation to capitalize on it, at further expense to the taxpayers?

This project has terrific potential and we wish the developers well in putting a deal together. But by heavily subsidizing film production costs, the taxpayers are already doing their fair share.

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