Legislating Runaway Production, 2002 - present

The beginnings of film tax incentives came from two directions. On one hand, Louisiana policymakers wanted a film industry to boost the economy in the region, which had suffered over the past 30 years from the flight of jobs in manufacturing, oil, and shipping industries. On the other hand, film companies looked to locations outside of California where production budgets could be reduced. Louisiana looked at the policies driving Hollywood production to British Columbia, Canada, and decided to devise their own homegrown policy. Vancouver, which was known as “Hollywood North,” would now compete with New Orleans as “Hollywood South.”

In the first iteration of the policy in 2002, policymakers constructed the film industry as a special category of economic driver, one that would perfectly harmonize the cultural recognition of the region with its economic revitalization. Every two years, the policy has been revised and extended. See the link below for the current provisions of the law. In 2012, the “temporary” policy was extended permanently and encompassed virtually every industry involved in the production of entertainment.

The state incentives cost some $170 million in lost tax revenues in 2010. This money comes from a state that is perpetually strapped with budget shortfalls. The report by the Louisiana State Budget Office has claimed that each job created by the incentives cost some $60,000 in taxpayer revenue.