I can’t believe taxpayers will be forking over money to the Big Media cartel. But This LA Times article reports that the $700 billion financial bailout package making its way through Congress includes $470 million worth of tax breaks over the next decade for movie and TV employers shooting in the United States. The provisions were part of a broad tax extension bill approved earlier by the U.S. Senate and then folded into the revised bailout legislation that passed Wednesday. Don’t get me wrong: it’s an admirable goal to stem runaway overseas production and keep movies and TV being made here at home. Specifically, the legislation would allow filmmakers who shoot in the U.S. to qualify for a tax deduction granted in 2004 to domestic manufacturers like GM, Boeing and Xerox who make their products in the U.S. (It capped the top tax rate at 32% instead of 35%). Additionally, the tax package lifts the budget cap on the existing tax deduction, which was limited to movies that cost less than $15 million and thereby excluded most studio films where the cost of just craft services is that amount. Now producers would be able to immediately deduct all production costs up to $15 million regardless of the movie’s total budget. The change also extends the existing credit, which was due to expire this year, to December 2009. You can thank lobbying by the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the Directors Guild of America and the Independent Film and Television Alliance for these breaks. Or not, depending on your POV. Again, congrats to the local paper for exposing what the trades failed to.
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