Tattle: If you tax them, they won't come

Bree Olsen (left) and Natalie Kenly.

THE ECONOMY is so confusing.

Take tax breaks.

One side of the aisle says we need as much tax revenue as we can reasonably collect because the economy is in the crapper and we're in debt up to our eyeballs.

The other side of the aisle says if we collect more tax, we won't pay down the debt but spend it on more unnecessary silliness. Besides, giving tax breaks stimulates the economy (which, see above, is in the crapper).

One side says we can't give a huge tax break to the rich because it's essentially spending money the government doesn't have. The other side says the government isn't "spending" money on the tax break because it's not the government's money.

But then there's this story from the Associated Press, which says: "States scrambling to make up for recession-driven revenue losses are rethinking whether it's wise to keep shelling out millions of dollars in tax breaks to lure Hollywood film productions."

Hmm. In this case, giving tax breaks is spending money.

"A tax-reform council in Georgia," the AP writes, " is urging lawmakers to end the state's 20 percent across-the-board tax credit. The credits cost Georgia more than $140 million in tax revenues last year."

Did they really cost Georgia $140 million? If true, how come giving a tax break to another industry (or a millionaire) is okay?

In reality, giving the tax break to a film production is better than giving it to a millionaire. State tax breaks to film productions lure them and the millions they then spend on lodging, food and other expenses.

Like hiring people.

When a movie production comes to town, it needs drivers and costumers and set designers and production assistants and all those people then get paychecks and pay taxes on those paychecks.

That's a tax break that stimulates a local economy. But without the break, the production doesn't come. If Georgia cuts its tax break it doesn't make the money back with the higher tax rate because the production instead shoots in North Carolina or Virginia, which have recently upped their offers to filmmakers.

And if they can't shoot there, Vancouver can look a lot like Atlanta if it has to. And then we're putting Canadians to work.

So let's get with the program you dopey, hypocritical politicans. If the current economic mantra is "Tax breaks good," then they're also good for filmmakers.

* Australia's political leaders were lampooned for their opposition to gay marriage as revelers crammed inner Sydney streets Saturday for Sydney's completely over-the-top 34th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Lily Tomlin was among the well-known gay advocates who were joined by 135 floats and 8,500 participants.

Christian opponents of the parade held a vigil in downtown Sydney several blocks away from the festivities to protest same-sex marriage. Pastor Peter Madden, a vigil organizer, said the Mardi Gras should not be held on Sydney streets.

"It's having a dangerous impact on our youth," he said, not sounding too convincing to the 300,000 people who lined the streets to gawk.

The parade is also a revenue source - the two-week fest leading up to it contributes nearly $30 million to the local economy.


 * Chris Rock is heading to Broadway.

He's starring in "The Motherf - - - - - With the Hat," a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis, that Rock describes as "'The Honeymooners' with drugs." It's about a man on parole trying to live clean with his volatile girlfriend, who is far from sober. Rock plays the man's drug counselor.

"Honestly, it was the best thing I read all last year," he said.

* The Moroccan film "Pegase" was awarded the top cinematic prize at Africa's biggest film festival Saturday.

The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, was held in Burkina Faso's capital. Eighteen feature competed for the top prize, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, which sounds like something Indiana Jones would search for.

"Pegase" tells the story of a young girl who is the victim of rape and incest and is manipulated to believe that she is pregnant with the devil's child.

We can almost smell a Hollywood remake.

* Preaching a safe-sex message, Ke$ha is putting her face on 10,000 condom wrappers.

TMZ.com says the 10,000 customized LifeStyles rubbers will be tossed into the crowds at Ke$ha concerts starting tonight.

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.

E-mail gensleh@phillynews.com.