Home Budget, Economy Sen. Scott Surovell Highly “Skeptical” That Using Virginia Taxpayer $$$ to “Underwrite...

Sen. Scott Surovell Highly “Skeptical” That Using Virginia Taxpayer $$$ to “Underwrite Hollywood” – In This Case, “The Bachelorette” – Is a Good Idea

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I’m 100% with Sen. Scott Surovell on this one: it is “preposterous” that Virginia taxpayer money — $536K of it, no less – was used “to pay a show to film in Richmond for 2-3 days,” something that “clearly didn’t result in a single new job in Richmond” and basically is just “using taxpayer dollars to underwrite Hollywood.” See below the screen shot for some comments from Sen. Surovell’s Facebook post, all of which I strongly agree with.

In general, I’m not a big fan of taxpayer-funded corporate welfare, particularly when it’s doled out to things that don’t provide a clear net benefit to taxpayers/citizens and/or a broader social good. In this case, we’re actually subsidizing a stupid, highly problematicreality television dating game show?” Why? Seems like a (really) bad idea to me, especially since it appears that state film subsidies amount to “not much bang for too many bucks.” Also see this November 2017 study by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), which found that:

  • “The film tax exemption has little effect on film location decisions, a negligible
    benefit to the Virginia economy, and provides a negligible return on the state’s
    investment”;
  • the “incentives provide a low return in revenue to the state”;
  • “[t]he film tax credit and grant have had mixed success in achieving their goals”;
  • “the impact [of these subsidies] is smaller than that of other economic development incentive programs.”

Again, why are we doing this??? Now, for a few comments on Sen. Surovell’s post.
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  • “Absurd. I was offended that they even allowed the Capitol to be used for filming the silly ‘debate’ – it’s not even allowed to be used for first amendment sanctioned protests, so how do they let it be used for this commercial enterprise? And then the state actually paid them to do this? It does not promote our Commonwealth, it shows how absolutely out of touch with reality many in our state government are. Heads need to roll.”
  • “That money could have provided autism insurance coverage for everyone in Virginia with NO AGE CAP. Like we have been promised for about 5 years now.”
  • “Totally agree. They should be paying y’all to film in such a beautiful city! And who the heck watches ‘The Bachelorette’ anyway?”
  • “I think it can work in extraordinary circumstances (look what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand), but it seems to be more a grab bag of cash just handed out so probably failing 99.9% of the time.”