The Rich Get Richer, and the State Gets Poorer

There have been many benefits to the state’s subsidies of the film industry. We get to see famous people walking among us everyday folk. There’s the delight of seeing the landmarks we know so well featured on the silver screen, sometimes to comedic effect.

1211381894While we’re sure Gov. Deval Patrick enjoys a Kate Hudson sighting as much as we do, the state is giving away money in the hopes of bolstering the local economy. But a new study shows that Massachusetts may actually be losing cash on the deal.

It seems the celebrities we love are pocketing the money generated by the tax breaks and skipping town.

The analysis by the Department of Revenue this week estimated that at least half the film-industry payroll spending will go to out-of-town residents, mainly actors, directors, and producers commanding salaries of more than $1 million each. The Revenue Department assumes they will spend only a fraction of their paychecks in Massachusetts, limiting the benefits to the local economy.

Come on, stars. Drop a few hundred thousand while you’re in town. We’ve got America’s biggest Apple Store and everything!

The Patrick administration stands by its incentives, saying that the local economy will benefit as filmmaking becomes an established industry in the Bay State. But for that to happen, legislators have to pass a bill that will subsidize 20 percent of the cost of constructing film studios. There’s no word yet on if that will mainly benefit the already-wealthy developers.