It's a basic business principle that if you spend more than you make you will eventually go broke. Notice I said that is a business principle not a government principle. It seems in government the idea is just to spend and worry about where the money comes from some other time.  Such seems to be the case with Louisiana's Film Tax Credit Program. This is a program that encourages motion picture and television production companies to do business in Louisiana.

The state's Department of Economic Development recently released a study on the program and found that the incentive created over 13-thousand jobs in the state. The cost for those jobs was 171-million dollars. LSU Economist Loren Scott says the program is actually costing more than it is earning.

 "Typically you'd hope you have a tax credit program, like a horizontal tax exemption we have, that actually brings in more money than it takes out the treasury, that's not the case with our film industry,"

Scott's comments were reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.

As you might imagine in a state where the budget is fiscal equivalent of a train wreck the film tax credit will be one of the hot topics when the legislature convenes in April. Some lawmakers will point to the number of jobs the program created while others will point their fingers at the 171 million dollar price tag.

By the way we did the math if you divide 13-thousand jobs into 171 million dollars you get each job worth $13,153.84. That breaks down to an hourly rate of $6.52 based on an annual projection. So is it a good idea to spend 171-million dollars on 13-thousand below minimum wage jobs when there appear to be other areas in our state that could use that massive amount of money?

"You could have been using that money to support other state spending, which created jobs as well,"

The words of Loren Scott again, who also suggested that just because that money was earned in Louisiana it probably wasn't spent in Louisiana. Most of the production companies are from out of state and they go home when production is concluded leaving you and I holding an empty money sack with our state's name in lights.


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