To get Hollywood producers to shoot movies in their states, governors love to throw around bigger and bigger tax breaks. In fact, "in less than a decade, the absurd notion of welfare for movie producers has evolved from the kind of weird thing they do in France to an unshakable American tradition," writes Michael Kinsley in the Los Angeles Times. It's time to stop.
Kinsley singles out Bill Richardson, who was a champion of the practice in New Mexico. Richardson tosses off demonstrably untrue claims of what the state gets in return—nearly $4 billion and 10,000 jobs over 8 years, stats that Kinsley summarily pokes holes in—and advises others to follow suit, writes Kinsley. "But of course every state cannot do that because it essentially is a 'beggar thy neighbor' strategy." If New Mexico wins the deal, that means another state loses, and "inevitably those other states respond with subsidies of their own and New Mexico gets beggared along with everybody else." Except Hollywood, of course.