Oscar made an appearance in Concord the other day. He wanted tax credits — for Hollywood. Really.
This particular gold-plated statuette was in the possession of Ernest Thompson, who won the award for the Hepburn-Fonda-Fonda movie, “On Golden Pond.” It was filmed on New Hampshire’s Squam Lake. It was a heck of a movie.
But Thompson testified that producers of a planned Golden Pond sequel would be making it in Taxachusetts, not New Hampshire. The Bay State provides tax credits to the film industry. New Hampshire does not.
Also testifying was a representative of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy. Spoiler Alert: What he said wasn’t reassuring for the film crowd.
Massachusetts, the state with the tax credits, did its own study of the program and concluded that the credit returns only 14 cents on every dollar spent.
But wait, there’s more. A North Carolina study of its tax credit program concluded that it returned only 19 cents on the dollar.
A University of Southern California study of film industry incentives from 1998-2013 found that film tax credits did not improve gross state product or movie industry concentration.
And, said Bartlett’s man, “both the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the right-of-center Tax Foundation have concluded that film industry incentives are costly and ineffective giveaways.”
If New Hampshire lawmakers go along with this tax giveaway, the Golden Pond sequel should be sub-titled Golden Fleeced. We don’t have time to stick around for the credits but we hope this show gets two thumbs down.