It has been reported that Sony is closing its its post-production facility in Albuquerque and moving it to Vancouver. Reason cited? Subsidies, of course. New Mexico “only” offers 25 cents on the dollar to film companies that set up shop in our fair state. Vancouver, Canada, (where much of the work will be sent) offers an astonishing 46% subsidy.
While it is painful to lose those jobs, the fact is that if taxpayers are footing 25% of the bill and a company is still willing to leave the state for greener pastures, there is something wrong. What is wrong? Not even including the inherent problem in taxing one group of people to support another:
1) the film industry is extremely mobile and lacking in location-specific permanence;
2) this means that the industry is always going to look for subsidies and will never be weaned off of them;
3) policymakers are chasing this industry for non-economic or prestige reasons. The economics of these policies are secondary.