Think film incentives work? New York paid $38k for each job created…

According to a news article from a New York state news source, film studios are getting $38,000 for every full-time job they create.

At a time when the $420 million a year in tax breaks has drawn increased scrutiny, a state consultant’s report quietly released in March raised new questions about the effectiveness of the lucrative program for TV shows and movies.

The study by Camoin Associates found that New York doled out nearly $1.2 billion in tax breaks to studios in 2013 and 2014, creating 30,761 “direct” jobs or about $38,000 a job.

The state is likely not breaking even on the program, which was first started in 2004 and expanded in 2010, said E.J. McMahon, executive director of the Empire Center, an Albany-based conservative think tank.

The report showed that the state’s return on investment on the credits is $1.09 for every $1 invested. But that’s assuming that no productions would be made in New York without the credit — which would never happen because many shows and movies that receive the tax breaks are based in the state, particularly New York City, such as Saturday Night Live.

Something to think about while NC lawmakers debate the final budget…..should NC have film incentives when they cost the state so much in tax-dollars when the return on investment isn’t very good?

Sarah Curry

Sarah Curry is Director of Fiscal Policy Studies at the John Locke Foundation.

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