Peter Schweizer over at Forbes writes:
Consider a few of this year’s Oscar nominated films. According to a new report by the Government Accountability Institute, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial spaghetti Western, Django Unchained, featuring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio has applied to receive an estimated $8.4 million in film tax credits from the State of Louisiana. Actor-director Ben Affleck and producer George Clooney’s film, Argo, received $6.21 million in tax credits from the California Film Commission. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, and Tommy Lee Jones, hauled in $3.5 million in tax-free film credits. Silver Linings Playbook bagged a cool $5.6 million.
Indeed, 40 states now have some form of subsidy or incentive that allow filmmakers to defray income and/or sales taxes incurred during filming. Thirteen states even offer so-called “transferrable film tax credits” that allow filmmakers to convert unused credits into cash—at taxpayer expense, of course.
Hollywood celebrities generally skew liberal, of course, and there's no shortage of them on the record as wanting to pay higher taxes. Ben Affleck, the star and director of Argo, one of the most-decorated films of the year, has repeatedly said things like "I don't spend so much that I can't afford to pay a little bit more in taxes."
If these Hollywood stars were serious about paying more in taxes, they'd attack the tax "incentives" for moviemaking. It'd be much more efficient, and they might even get a few conservatives on board!
Unfortunately, the Motion Picture Association of America has one of the most effective lobbyists in the country: Chris Dodd, former Democrat senator from Connecticut. And Dodd's not about to let those juicy tax credits slip through Hollywood's fingers. Dodd claimed that the fight for tax credits is about small businesses and "dry cleaners, restaurants, and florists."
“Not only does film and television production in New York employ the thousands of men and women working on some of the most popular television shows and films, it also supports small businesses in every sector of the economy – dry cleaners, restaurants, florists – who benefit when a production comes to town.”
So while Hollywood enjoys one of its most popular nights and pats itself on the back by giving awards to itself, remember: they're happy to remain blissfully ignorant about how their industry sucks tax revenues out of government coffers.