Is “Hollywood Of The South” Worth The Billing?
As the state of Louisiana faces a budget shortfall approaching $2 billion, the question is being asked if it's indeed worth it for the Bayou State to have such prestige in the movie industry.
According to theadvocate.com, the state's film incentive program costs taxpayers about $170 million a year. Now, putting that in comparison to $2 billion, that's not a huge chunk of change. But, you have to start somewhere, right?
Higher education has been taking a pounding under the Jindal Administration, with lawmakers potentially slashing as much as $300 million over the next two years. Some lawmakers are even talking about getting their hands on TOPS, which has helped many students be able to attend and graduate from universities all across Louisiana. I was one of these students. (State Treasurer John Kennedy is against TOPS being cut, for the record.)
Legislators are expected to look at numerous other major state incentives when the session rolls around for 2015, but does this program, which has brought very high profile movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" and "Fantastic Four" to Louisiana, deserve to be put away?
Critics of the film program say money spent on it is money taken away from education and other state priorities. Proponents of the film program admit that maybe there should be a cap on how much money is spent by taxpayers on the film program, instead of taxpayers just footing the bill when filmmakers turn in their paperwork.
So, what do you say, as a taxpayer? Are you for or against keeping Louisiana the "Hollywood of the South?"