One Last Word on the Film Tax Incentives
Yesterday’s Globe had an article critical of the film tax credit offered by the Commonwealth.
I will say that it has significantly improved the celebrity level of the gossip columns, minimizing the Globe’s Names & Faces section’s embarassing fascination with C-list celebrities eating chinese food at the Kowloon. Wow! John Waite? Pro wrestlers? Wasn’t exactly Page 6 material.
However, the Department of Revenue’s report makes one fact clear — these are temporary jobs:
…the 20 film productions for which tax credits were claimed in calendar year 2006 employed approximately 2,267 individuals, with an average employment duration of 3.2 months, with the employment duration ranging from one week to 12 months. Weighted for the number employed and the duration of employment for particular productions (with large productions receiving a higher weighting than small productions), the average duration of employment was 1.4 months. However, these estimates are not definitive, as it is not currently possible for DOR to independently verify the accuracy of employment figures included in the applications. For the 27 calendar year 2007 film credit applications received thus far, productions employed 1,477 individuals with an average employment duration of 3.7 months, ranging from 1 week to 12 months. Weighted for the number employed and the duration of employment for particular productions, the average duration of employment was 1.7 months.
Rumors abound that a studio may set up full-time shop in Quincy or elsewhere but until then this is not a major employer — approximately 4-5,000 people on average per month.
These employment levels are roughly equivalent to the knifemaking and wholesale plumbing supply businesses in Massachusetts. Except those industries pay 2 – 3x the average weekly wage of the motion picture industry. I’ll watch out for their tax credits, complete with pretty pictures of the stars….