Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poll: Do today's Oscar nominations vindicate the state's film credits?

Posted by Alan Wirzbicki
January 25, 2011

Today's Academy Award nominations yielded a bumper crop for the Bay State, with two movies set in Massachusetts, "The Social Network" and "The Fighter," winning best picture nominations.

But as Ty Burr and Wesley Morris write, the good news comes even as questions have been raised about the future of the tax credit that has made Massachusetts a favorite destination for filmmakers.

Opponents of the tax break say it doesn't yield enough jobs to justify the cost, and claimed vindication after a report earlier this month said the credit created only 222 Massachusetts jobs in 2009, at a cost to taxpayers of $325,000 per job.

But the backers of the credit, including former state film office head Nick Paleologos, say the numbers are better than the state report indicates, and that positive publicity like today's Oscar nominations provide a much-needed boost to the state's image and economy.

Do you support offering tax breaks to lure filmmakers to Massachusetts?

Yes: 96%

No: 4%
2,002 TOTAL VOTES as of 3:45pm on Feb 1, 2011.
Cast your vote here.


eslt wrote: Only 222 jobs created in MA as a result of the Film Tax Credit in 2009? 300 local jobs were created on The Town alone. And that was one of at minimum 8 major film productions during 2009 alone. Did the "report" also indicate that for every two film related jobs created; another was created as a result of filming outside of the film industry. Doubt it. But, it did.    1/25/2011 10:38 PM EST

Viggen wrote: 222 jobs?! The authors of that report must have cherry-picked the available information. SAG stats gave a much more favorable report. Now allowing for a) it's SAG and b) I'm a member, none of that was a factor for the UMass report which put the positive income to the state and to the people who were behind the camera, in front of the camera and supporting all of us who live here in the millions of dollars. . . 222 jobs, please! That's the number of people who could be working just one film.
1/25/2011 10:42 PM EST

rockyjoedog wrote: I must question anyone who puts forth a number such as "222 jobs", unless they are allies of deposed Rep. D'Amico, who had a vendetta against both the Film Production Tax Credit program, and the local film industry as well. Did the commenter work on any of the films shot here in 2009? I did, and looking in any direction, one could easily count over 222 people on any given day. And that's not counting the people who work behind the scenes on a production. The 'lateral' spending, in addition to salaries, that accompanies a film production, e.g., hotels, car rentals, lumber, supplies, location procurement, police and fire details, transportation, et al, is profound. We should be praising local-based people like Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, and others, who brought three major productions to the state in 2009, that gave so many people, much-needed work, with good pay. As an actor, who earned his SAG card working on Martin Scorcese's, "Shutter Island", and who worked on "The Fighter", "The Company Men", and "The Town", I can attest to the benefits to the state and it's workers. It made the difference for me to afford my health insurance payments, which have skyrocketed under Romneycare. Why do people campaign against giving people work? Is it ignorance, jealousy, or misinformation? BTW, Bravo to Mark Walhberg,Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams! Thanks! 1/26/2011 4:45 AM EST

snoutfair wrote: I agree with the previous posters. There is no way that only 222 jobs were created. I have been out of the film industry for 10 years and it was so busy that I received multiple calls asking if I could come to work on films in 2009. But even if we accept those numbers at face value, that's a tax rebate on 72 million dollars spent by film companies on goods and services in MA. That doesn't take into account the dollars spent by Hollywood crews at local restaurants and shops during their visit here or the wages spent by local workers on everyday living expenses. Maybe this is one of the reasons that MA hasn't been hit as hard by the recession as some states. The tax credit is good for our state.
1/26/2011 6:49 AM EST

bdwiggity wrote: "the good news comes even as questions have been raised about the future of the tax credit that has made Massachusetts a favorite destination for filmmakers." What is that about? The doubt of the film tax credits always stems from some loud mouth who demands their villainous attempts to sabotage the film tax incentive get published and then all of a sudden there is a stir in the State House which results in a big showing of support for the incentive. Unfortunately, that possibility ends up scaring away all the movies that were planning on coming to town. That's what happened last year: there were at LEAST two movies that had planned on coming to MA that ended up going to Georgia and Michigan where the incentives were secure.

I read the report. I work in the industry and I absolutely rely on these incentives. 222 jobs is not what this about, though. While there may have only been 222 full time jobs created, there were probably several thousand temporary jobs (between all the movies) created. That includes police detail, security, extras, drivers, day-players for crew, etc. The most infuriating part is that THESE WOULD NOT BE TEMPORARY JOBS IF THE INCENTIVE WASN'T THREATENED. Producers love to shoot in Boston/MA because there is a solid work force, versatile neighborhoods, good hotels and restaurants, i.e. infrastructure and so on. (As a comparison, Alaska just passed a film tax incentive but it is in jeopardy because the lack of infrastructure and crew).

Also talk to the hotels, car services, restaurants, coffee shops, caterers, hardware stores, lumber yards, churches, equipment rentals, blah blah blah. Every day we shoot in town, you can bet that almost every department will send someone to go buy a round of coffees...on one of the pilots ,my department (Set Lighting) alone spent between 30-50 every day on coffees, soup, milkshakes, or some other mid-morning snack. We would not have been in that neighborhood otherwise. AND WE WERE ALL LOCAL!

Any doubt the incentive works is stupid and slanderous. The report also shows all the good things that it does, why don't we ever hear about that?  1/26/2011 8:18 AM EST

Mondy wrote: Very misleading headline. Could you at least phrase the question properly? Whether I support the tax break or not (I do) is a separate question from whether the Oscar noms justify the credit (IMHO They don't). 1/26/2011 8:45 AM EST

gd0073 wrote: In addition to the $$$ being spent here, it’s amazing that the policy makers miss the key point that this is a lead-in to get the infrastructure built for a permanent industry and jobs. Tie-ins to the high tech industry could also grow out of this with the burgeoning digitalization of film, TV and media in general (a lot developed here in Mass. but leave the state). Mass. Is losing the media (and social network) race to New York and Silicon Valley. There are so many industry multipliers tied to the film tax credit that people are missing!  1/26/2011  1:23 PM EST

hglucky wrote: When movies are made in Massachusetts it puts to work local film crews, employs construction, skilled laborers, artists, crafts people ... They spend money on shooting locations, local hotels, restaurants, retail stores, police detail. Attracts tourism... I can go on. Much of the way Hollywood films made here help Massachusetts and the local economy cannot be tabulated. But ask any of the above if they have missed movie activity in Massachusetts and they will all say "Yes."  1/27/2011 11:46 AM EST

johnsmithee wroteThe uproar over this issue is full of half truths brought to you often by people from other states who have seen their film industry and related earnings decrease due to Massachusetts' incentive program (the much-talked about study about 18 months ago was funded by proponents of the NY State film incentive program). 

The basic facts are that this is a fairly clean industry which does not build or impose on any community (with the serious exception of some increased traffic and minor road closures when shooting in a particular neighborhood).

Each production collects a REBATE which is based on the money that is spent in the state. This is in no way a give away of state money or any kind of up front payment to incent companies to come here.

Many workers who do not have freelance jobs dont understand this simple fact-we pay taxes in each state in which we work. That means a RI or NH film worker is paying MA state taxes. And a Los Angeles-based actor also must file and pay MA state taxes on his or her wages.

Studies can be tailored to a particular conclusion. But what can not be argued is that there would be no payments or rebates if 75% more money wasn't coming in.  
1/27/2011  12:19 PM EST