On Tuesday, a health facility on Townsend Street in Roxbury was getting the Hollywood treatment, being transformed into a hospital for 'Stronger,' a movie based on the marathon bombings. More than a thousand productions, like last year's Oscar winning 'Spotlight,' have been produced in Massachusetts since the state adopted the film tax credit program 10 years ago. It pays producers 25% of payroll taxes, and production costs, for projects filmed in Massachusetts, and the sales tax is waived on any purchases associated with the production.
On Monday, producers and union workers lobbied lawmakers to continue the credit, despite opposition from Governor Baker and others who say there are more efficient ways to stimulate the economy.
Ferrante supports the tax credit because "it puts people to work." In her district of Gloucester, many fishermen and blue collar workers have lost their jobs. She called the credit a "godsend" to her district, where they build sets and put the films together. She said that "two thirds of the communities in Massachusetts are benefiting from the film tax credit."
Sullivan disagreed, and said that the problem with the tax credit is that "you've got states around the country basically funneling huge amounts of money." He explained, "25% of the cost of making a film or TV series, if it's done in Massachusetts, is given as a credit." That means cash, not a deduction.
Sullican also raised concerns about the temporary nature of the jobs created by the tax. "Those are not full-time jobs that last for years," he said. Ferrante disagreed on issue of job creation. "We're hiring fishermen out of work," she said. "They are getting a paycheck to support their families now."
What do you think? Are there more efficient ways to stimulate the economy?
Disclaimer: WGBH has benefited from the tax program for some of the shows produced here.