Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had an article in the New York Times recently defending New Mexico’s economically-silly film subsidies. Liberal columnist Michael Kinsley, having more than enough of Richardson’s absurd ideas, lit into him in the Los Angeles Times.
Kinsley’s cites one of the many studies that have shown film subsidies to be bad policy, like this study on film subsidies put out by the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. But his most effective blow comes when he compares studies (like the one done by Ernst & Young) which have been used to justify the subsidies to Enron:
Even after our recent experience with gullible or mendacious accountants in financial scandals like Enron’s, it’s actually shocking that reputable accounting firms would pull some of these stunts, such as counting the allowances film crews get paid for expenses as a benefit to the state, then counting the same money again when it is spent. Or assuming without explanation that the average film crew member makes $82,400 a year, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics sets that figure at $35,000. The most outrageous double counting, of course, is telling one state after another that it can bring in billions by enticing the same movies away from other states.
Kudos to Kinsley for calling out Richardson and this wasteful program.