Boston Herald Editorial
February 12, 2010
Boston isn’t Hollywood – yet. But any way you slice it the effort to boost film production in Massachusetts has been a win for businesses and taxpayers.
Critics who question the value of the state’s film tax incentives really ought to read a new study out of UMass-Boston which finds that the Bay State is one of the fastest growing locations for film and TV production in the country.
And all of that activity during this recent period of economic decline has meant one thing:
“Employment in film and television and production has increased in Massachusetts during a period when total state employment has been on the decline,” the study authors found.
Yes, the hiring of Teamsters and caterers and local actors has even managed to offset job losses in industries hard hit by recession. Without growth in film and television production and post-production, job losses (our unemployment rate is now at 9.4 percent) could have been even worse.
Now, we know Gov. Deval Patrick had to make tough choices in drafting his budget plan for next fiscal year. (Something had to give so he could promise cities and towns that they wouldn’t lose one dime of state aid.) Instead of X’ing out the $125 million film tax credit program he instead capped it at $50 million.
But those critics who argue that the tax incentives are too costly (and there are several in the Legislature) will now surely argue for making that temporary cap permanent – or to get rid of them altogether.
From the study:
Some states with more generous tax credit programs, like Michigan, haven’t experienced as much growth in film industry employment as Massachusetts (Detroit just ain’t Boston).
Workers from hard-hit industries such as construction and transportation have made the transition to film and television production, preventing further job losses.
Local college graduates are increasingly finding work in local non-fiction TV and post-production companies.
It seems California’s losses have been the Bay State’s gain.
Now is not the time to walk away.