Politicians Should Stand Up for Taxpayers

Instead of sending their money to Hollywood

Proponents of the Michigan film subsidy program, which like all corporate welfare programs takes money from taxpayers and gives it to large companies in the name of "job creation," often say the incentives are temporary and needed to diversify the state economy.

Most of them say the programs eventually will be rolled back. This isn't true.

Like all groups, businesses work to get as much money from the government as possible, regardless of the economic effects or evidence. Consider what's happening in Maryland.

The state has generous subsidies and its most notable project is the Netflix show, "House of Cards." Last year, the governor of Maryland and other politicians got to hang out with stars and tout the alleged benefits the show brought to the state. Maryland spends $40 million on film subsidies, most of which goes to that one show.

But apparently it's not enough, as the Washington Post reported:

A few weeks before Season 2 of "House of Cards" debuted online, the show's production company sent Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley a letter with this warning: Give us millions more dollars in tax credits, or we will 'break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state.'

A similar letter went to the speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), whose wife, Cynthia, briefly appeared in an episode of the Netflix series about an unscrupulous politician — played by Kevin Spacey — who manipulates, threatens and kills to achieve revenge and power.

This shouldn't be surprising. Movie studios have pulled the same stunt in other states to try to secure more perks.

What would be a true Hollywood ending in Michigan, which spends $50 million per year on film subsidies, is if politicians would finally stand up for taxpayers.