An example of rent-seeking is when a company lobbies the government for loan subsidies, grants or tariff protection. These activities don’t create any benefit for society, they just redistribute resources from the taxpayers to the special-interest group.
Among those industries that are most apt to
seek demand tax relief for what is just ordinary business is the Entertainment business. Film, TV; their financial crie d’acoeur always seems to be “give us monies from your Publick Treasury or we shall go elsewhere (where the Publick Officials are more likely to swoon and hand over that Key simply because of who we are)”. Politicians may be thinking the equation of most “the giving away of our peoples’ monies will be more than compensated by the extra revenues spent by the production crew” – it hardly ever works out that way. So it usually comes down to bragging rights: “we have them and you don’t”.
This letter to Maryland from the House of Cards production company makes it clear (with commentary):
Honorable Governor Martin O’Malley
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Governor O’Malley,
Thank you again for taking the time to visit the House of Cards set last spring to announce the enhancement of the Maryland Film Production Employment Act. The passage of the legislation allowed MRC and the production to remain In Maryland. We appreciate your strong support for our business and for recognizing the jobs and economic impact it brings to the State of Maryland.
Translation: we suckered you once. Now, the set up
We know that the General Assembly is in session, and understand legislation must be introduced to increase the program’s funding. MRC and House of Cords had a wonderful experience over the past two seasons and we want to stay in Maryland. We are ready to assist in any way possible to help with the passage of the bill.
In the meantime I wanted you to be aware that we are required to look at other states in which to film on the off chance that the legislation does not pass, or does not cover the amount of tax credits for which we would qualify. I am sure you can understand that we would not be responsible financiers and a successful production company if we did not have viable options available.
Translation: and the pinch – give us what we want or we flee with what we already have taken….to take from someone else equally as silly as to believe that “loyalty” plays any role in this. After all, what is House of Cards all about (fool)?
We wanted you to be aware that while we had planned to begin filming in early spring, we have decided to push back the start date for filming until June to ensure there has been a positive outcome of the legislation. In the event sufficient incentives do not become available, we will have to break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.
Translation: we will give you enough time to see if you will financially enrich our coffers even more – and watch you slip the micro-noose around your taxpayers wallets. After all, isn’t that the name of the game – enrich the few of us by the pillage of the rest?
Thank you again for the support and assistance that House of Cards has received from the State of Maryland and your agencies, Baltimore City, as well as Harford County, the Maryland Fllm lndustry Coalition, the unions, and Maryland’s citizens and thousands of small businesses, I hope this legislative session will be successful and that you will be able to visit House of Cards and spend time with our cast and crew once again.
Translation: we suckered you once. This time, we’re doing it again – right in front of you. ‘Cause you don’t have the stones to say no to Crony Capitalism.
Senior Vice President, Television Production
(H/T: Big Hollywood)