Sunday, December 28, 2014

Corbett's smart direction: Action!

Gov. Corbett has joked about how he resembles the late comedy actor Leslie Nielsen. While Corbett is clearly the straight man, it was good to see the governor back a tax credit for the film industry.

Corbett's smart direction: Action!

Sharon Pinkenson, film office chief since ’92, with director Danny Boyle, has urged state officials to increase tax breaks for filmmakers working in the state. (Source: Greater Philadelphia Film Office)
Sharon Pinkenson, film office chief since ’92, with director Danny Boyle, has urged state officials to increase tax breaks for filmmakers working in the state. (Source: Greater Philadelphia Film Office)

Gov. Corbett has joked about how he resembles the late comedy actor Leslie Nielsen. While Corbett is clearly the straight man, it was good to see the governor back a tax credit for the film industry.

The tax credits help attract film crews and Hollywood stars to the state. That helps create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in spending.

Corbett approved roughly $49 million in tax credits for 60 film, television, and commercial productions in the state. Former Gov. Edward G. Rendell had approved the credits before he left office, but they were held up for review by the Corbett administration.

Critics don't like the idea of singling out one industry over another for tax breaks. From a fairness stand point it is not the best policy. But the reality is a number of other industries enjoy various tax breaks.

Other states and countries offer tax incentives to the film industry, which is very mobile and will go wherever it gets the best deal. But Pennsylvania is well positioned to compete for the film work because of its proximity to New York, and the lower costs.

Philadelphia, in particular, has benefitted from the growth in the film industry. In addition to the jobs and spending, having a movie shot in the region often generates large amounts of free publicity and buzz. That, in turn, bolsters the state's image or can attract visitors.

Just ask the steady stream of tourists who still imitate Rocky Balboa running up the steps of the Art Museum - 35 years after the film was released.

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