As an extra on at least four or five films since my retirement as an Allegheny County probation/parole officer two years ago, I have seen firsthand the large amounts of money spent by film companies locally. Nearly everyone I met was local: film crew, extras, caterers, laborers, etc. And, of course, there are payments for use of buildings and hotels.
So, I read with interest Colin McNickle's column “Cut through the film tax credit fiction” (April 21 and TribLIVE.com). His opinions, and the researcher he cites, do nothing to override information from Dawn Keezer, Pittsburgh Film Office director, who has correctly noted “quantifiable, audited economic impact” on the region of more than $100 million in each of the past three years.
McNickle states: “The ‘race' against other states' incentive programs to attract productions creates a never-ending battle; it's an arms race with your wallet — a race to the bottom.'”
I read the Trib often but usually skip the Opinion pages; I suspect the Opinion staff are big supporters of Gov. Tom Corbett. Through Corbett's leadership, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not tax fracking profits. Certainly, that is “a race to the bottom.”
I guess McNickle thinks that's fine for big-profit, big-polluting gas companies, but not for the film industry.
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