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18.9.12

Hypocrite moans when others may get taxpayer largesse


It seems for some being at the public trough is not enough. They also have to act as hypocrites when it appears others may be trying to push their snouts into the mix.

Complaints arose from one Louisiana film studio boss when he discovered that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was renting out part of its Michoud Assembly Center for use as a film studio. Patrick Mulhearn of Raleigh Studios claims that the federal government, which is required to recover costs when possible on facilities, set rental rates for another studio to use its unused space at below-market rates, which would violate federal rules. NASA says it does not and no demand in the aerospace area means the space would not get used for the general purpose of the facility.

Raleigh uses space at Baton Rouge’s Celtic Media Centre, leading Mulhearn to whine, “All I've been given is hearsay from producers who tell me that our rates are more expensive than theirs. The taxpayers didn't fund [Michoud] to make movies. … I know that [Celtic’s owners] never would have built this facility if they knew they were going to have to compete with NASA.”

As if this guy and the facility owners don’t already live off the taxpayers’ backs. Celtic cost an estimated $45 million to build – and qualified for the state’s absurdly generous then-40 percent tax credit for studio construction to forgo paying as much as $20 million to the state. Raleigh gets business from those who do and itself can qualify for other film production tax credits that likely have cost the citizenry tens of millions more.

Without taxpayers letting over a hundred million dollars a year on average go by the wayside, chances are business done by Raleigh would be a fraction of what it is and Mulhearn would be out of a job. (In fact, a Michigan company under the same umbrella as the Louisiana one looks to be going belly up after similar incentives were withdrawn, leaving taxpayers on the hook.) Yet even if by following the rules competitors still might get an advantage by indirect government assistance, that doesn’t change the fact this is what he and others already do.

So if he’s going to make holier-than-thou speeches criticizing others for doing what exactly he does, he needs to forswear use of any tax credits in his business. Otherwise, his grousing contains absolutely zero credibility and annoys rather than contributes. Yet it does have one saving grace – it reminds of the stupidity of the wasteful corporate welfare that is the several Louisiana film tax credits.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! You are totally sick.

I completely agree with Mr. Mulhearn.

You really don't seem to know (or to care) who is really at the public trough.

Mr. Mulhearn is trying to help you. But, alas, his efforts are obviously futile with you.

Anonymous said...

TAX CREDITS ARE ONE THING.

BUT, BIG GOVERNMENT COMPETING WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY, WHETHER IT RECEIVES TAX CREDITS OR NOT, IS A MUCH SERIOUS CONCERN.

THAT APPARENTLY IS THE CASE HERE.

I MUST ALSO WONDER IF THE SUCCESSFUL STUDIO IN SHREVEPORT AND ITS OWNERS AND OPERATORS AGREE WITH YOU THAT THEY ARE THE PRODUCT OF AND MUST RELY ON "... THE STUPIDITY OF THE WASTEFUL CORPORATE WELFARE. PROBABLY NOT.

Sean Huze said...

Mr. Sadow,

Your relentless assault against any and all things related to the film industry is beyond tiresome. You've now resorted to personal attacks on Patrick Mulhearn, a man I know personally and is likely Louisiana's most dedicated citizen when it comes to job creation and education/training for one of the most rapidly growing industries in the state. Patrick works diligently to continue to build this industry and deserves gratitude from his fellow Louisianians, not your condescension. You are railing against an industry that presently employs thousands of folks here in Louisiana, creates small businesses, and is projected to continue to create local jobs with this great example of how government can help rather than hurt businesses. Louisiana's film tax credit program has served as a model for many other states. For once, we got it right and we got it first leaving the rest to play catch up.

An excellent example of how this program benefits the state and its residents would be Hollywood Trucks (a Louisiana company with offices in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, & New Orleans). It was recently ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing businesses in North America and #3 in the state. Now, do you think all their employees would have found other comparable paying jobs? How about the revenue the state receives from their payroll and capital gains taxes? Would jobs & tax revenue have just magically appeared by some other company had the state not been a leader in attracting Film/TV job creators? Because in addition to all the hard work, vision, and efforts by this company's owners and employees, it wouldn't even exist without the credits (I'll repeat, the #3 fastest growing company in our state would not exist if you had your druthers).

On a more personal note, I would still be in Los Angeles rather than enjoying the return to my home state with my family to Louisiana after being gone since 1999. I've been back home about 2 1/2 years now and I bought a house (thus generating property tax revenue), my family does all our shopping here (sales tax revenue), pay tuition for my child's school ($13,000 per year for my elementary school age child + we will have another enroll there in preschool soon), and pay income tax here now and not in CA. I am just one of thousands that are either returning home or are relocating to our state as a direct result of the credits. All of these things are not taken into account in your ignorant, incessant rants about the so-called lost revenue for the state. I hope your ignorance and bluster are not traits that are representative of other professors at LSU. I shudder to think that any university would hire one so obviously obtuse. And speaking of hypocrisy, do you teach at the state & federally funded LSU for free or do you cash your paychecks made possible through federal and state funding?