Virginia is all about business, and to many of the state’s lawmakers that includes big breaks to Hollywood — at taxpayers’ expense, critics argue.
While some states are rethinking and downsizing their incentive programs for the film industry, members of Virginia’s House of Delegates have voted to increase the state’s cap on refundable corporate income tax credits to the film industry from $5 million every two years to $25 million — all in the name of economic development.
Some experts and critics say subsidizing the film industry lets politicians pick winners and losers, distorting the free market system. They argue such credits cause funding losses in such areas as education, forcing taxpayers to make up the revenue elsewhere.
“The tax rate that the rest of us have to pay, unless they reduce spending, will have to be higher to offset this privilege for the film industry,” said Matt Mitchell, a senior research fellow with George Mason University’s Mercatus Center in Fairfax.