Reel Money: Should Taxpayers Finance Movies?

The State Investment Council has just agreed to lend $7.5 million at zero interest for three years to finance the production of a movie to be filmed in New Mexico. The film will tell the inspiring story of a man and his grandson who drift into Mexico and both fall in love with the same prostitute.
The opportunity cost of making such a loan is around $1 million, that being the returns that could be had by investing the money elsewhere. There is also an element of risk to be considered: presumably the loan is unsecured by property, and who knows how the production company figures its profits and hence its ability to repay the loan.
It’s said that 97 film jobs will be brought into the state, but only for the duration of shooting. That figures out to about $10,000 per job, some or perhaps most of which will go to movie makers brought in from Hollywood.
Is this a good deal for New Mexican taxpayers? Probably not. But as usual, we aren’t given enough information by the state to make a reliable calculation.
But one thing is for sure: No one will ever make a film in New Mexico without first paying a visit to Santa Fe to pick up some free money.

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One Reply to “Reel Money: Should Taxpayers Finance Movies?”

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    With a Thompson gun for hire, fighting to be done.
    The deal was made in Denmark, on a dark and stormy day,
    So he set out for Biafra, to join the bloody fray.
    Through sixty-six and seven, they fought the Congo war,
    With their fingers on their triggers, knee deep in gore.
    Days and nights they battled, the Bantu to their knees,
    They killed to earn their living, and to help out the Congolese.
    Roland the Thompson gunner…
    His comrades fought beside him, Van Owen and the rest,
    But of all the Thompson gunners, Roland was the best.
    So the C.I.A decided, they wanted Roland dead,
    That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen, blew off Roland’s head.
    Roland the headless Thompson gunner…
    Roland searched the continent, for the man who’d done him in.
    He found him in Mombasa, in a bar room drinking gin,
    Roland aimed his Thompson gun, he didn’t say a word,
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    The eternal Thompson gunner, still wandering through the night,
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