The AJC brings us word that a remake of Footloose, the quintessential epic of our time (and bastardization of Ecclesiastes into pop culture), has been stolen from Memphis because Georgia offered a better incentive package.
“Director Craig Brewer says his remake of “Footloose” will be filmed in Georgia because Tennessee couldn’t match the incentives package.
The newspaper reported that Tennessee’s incentive package was about $1.6 million short of what Georgia offered. “
I can go on record as saying I not only do not want this movie re-made, but would like all copies of the original burned. However, this does show that there have been actual moments of progress made on Economic development in Georgia recently that are more material than a bunch of high-speed boat ramps.
The chief proponent of the movie tax incentives has been Senator Mitch Seabaugh, whose district includes Senioa’s Riverwood Studios. One industry blog sums up the importance of Georgia’s position:
It may seem like a silly thing to get so excited about, but for people like DeRossett, incentives such as these can mean the difference between buying a bigger, more expensive home and facing foreclosure on a smaller, cheaper one.
What’s truly good news for both DeRossett and Hollywood studios is that Georgia’s new incentive is generous, but not so generous that a skeptical public and fickle legislators are likely to demand it be repealed two or three years down the line.
“This is something you can count on,” says Georgia State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, noting that the bill had near-unanimous support in both houses before being signed into law by Gov. Perdue on May 12. “And we’re not going to be taking it back. We want to build a long-term relationship with the industry.”
It’s been a rough few years for the Georgia film and TV community. The state had been on a hot streak in the late ’90s and early ’00s, attracting such studio films as 1999′s “The General’s Daughter” and 2000′s “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” But in 2003, Louisiana and New Mexico made available rich incentive packages, luring away productions that would have otherwise gone to the Peach State, such as 2004′s “Ray” (shot in Louisiana). The Georgia legislature fought back with a 9% tax credit in 2005, creating a record-setting economic impact in 2006, with film, television and video game companies contributing $475 million to the state economy, an increase from $124 million in 2004. But business fell off sharply again the following year as more states one-upped each other with increasingly generous incentives, culminating with Michigan’s passage of a 40-42% tax credit earlier this year.
While many will debate the benefits of supply side economics and tax credits to spur business, I think this is a great example of how tax credits should work. An incentive is given to lure economic activity here, that doesn’t have a major effect on business already operating here. Thus, there is little “loss” in the credit, because there was very little to be taxed before the credits were instituted.
Much is similar with the new Kia plant down in West Point, which is already expanding production. Most of the tax incentives given to lure Kia were to forgo property taxes that would never have been collected anyway, since the land that the plant now occupies would have remained fields and pine forests.
Instead, due to tax credits, Georgia now has a thriving movie business and a highly productive car plant where none previously existed.
Thus, kudos again to Senator Seabaugh. The man who lost his leadership position in the Senate because he wouldn’t vote for a tax increase has demonstrable evidence that certain tax cuts can bring in new revenue and jobs to Georgia.
And as for Tennessee, that should teach ’em for stealing our water.