Film Tax Credit Horror Show For Pa.

Film Tax Credit Horror Show For Pa.

By Lowman S. Henry

Every survey or study of state-by-state economic competitiveness puts Pennsylvania in the bottom third when it comes to the tax and regulatory policies that comprise a state’s business climate. Rather than reform those policies to make Penn’s Woods more competitive, officials have attempted to spur economic development through tax credits and other incentives awarded to specific businesses.

This policy of having government pick winners and losers has been an abject failure. After decades of what amounts to corporate welfare handed out to well-connected businesses, the needle has not moved on the state’s standing relative to the 49 other states in economic competitiveness.

Despite this bipartisan alliance of governors, lawmakers and deep state bureaucrats stubbornly resist ending these handouts and replacing them with tax and regulatory policies that would provide an across-the-board boost to all businesses regardless of size or political connections.

A prime example of such government waste is the film tax credit program. It was initiated by Governor Ed Rendell in 2007 when $75 million was inserted into the state budget in what he touted as an effort to get production companies to bring more high-dollar projects to Pennsylvania. Under the scheme, production companies can get a tax credit of up to 25% of costs if at least 60% of those expenditures occur within the commonwealth.

Aside from the obvious absurdity of having state taxpayers subsidize highly profitable out-of-state film-makers, it turns out production companies are not actually using the credit, but are “selling” them to other businesses in exchange for cash.

State Representative Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland) has shone the spotlight on this boondoggle after she learned recipients of the film tax credit have sold about 99% of the credits to other companies. Those companies, says Keefer, have nothing to do with the film industry “showing the true financial incentive for the production is the greater gain to be had by selling the credits to large corporations and paying the Pennsylvania assessed taxes.”

In fact, the practice is so prolific that there actually are secondary tax brokers who make large fees by guiding the deals that transfer the tax credits from film production companies to other corporations. “At the end of the day,” says Keefer, “the production companies (many of them in town for only a short season) get cash, large corporations avoid paying taxes and PA taxpayers subsidize business the government deemed most worthy with no substantial benefit to the state’s economy.”

Keefer has proposed legislation that would disallow the sale of these tax credits going forward. That would force production companies to utilize the tax credits themselves, fulfilling the intent of the legislation that initially set up the program.

There are several additional layers of reform that need to be addressed. First, the film tax credit program needs to be ended. It originated as a gift to Governor Ed Rendell’s Hollywood friends and survives because certain lawmakers from both parties continue to conspire to keep the tax credit intact.

Second, there is an overarching policy issue, and that is the need for the entirety of state government to finally admit that the practice of picking winners and losers has failed to make Pennsylvania even reasonably competitive among other states.

High taxes and over-regulation discourage businesses from expanding or locating here and no amount of tax credits or other targeted incentives is ever going to change that equation. This is especially true as other states do enact such reforms, thus improving their economic climates and making Penn’s Woods even more economically uncompetitive.

Pennsylvania has benefitted from the roaring Trump economy, but not to the extent it should, because our state-level policies are holding us back. It will take leadership and a total change in the mindset of policymakers, but until we make those changes we will never be, as former Governor Tom Ridge often said, “a leader among states and a competitor among nations.”

Mr. Henry is chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal

Film Tax Credit Horror Show For Pa.
Film Tax Credit Horror Show For Pa.

Ask Beth Ann Wilson Career Coach

Ask Beth Ann Wilson Career Coach by Kate Rainey

Beth Ann Wilson, who specializes in career transition for those of all ages and diverse backgrounds, will discuss how conducting a job search and planning for a career shift raises many questions with Joseph’s People 7 – 8:30 p.m., Sept. 3, at Media Presbyterian Church, 30 E. Baltimore Ave., Media, Pa., 19063. All are welcome to the free event, regardless of religious affiliation.

Ms. Wilson will create a safe place to ask questions, hear the rationale behind job seeking and career planning answers so you can address future challenges with confidence. Questions discussed include when interviewing, how do I answer the salary question? How do I ask a contact for an introduction to a hiring manager at their organization?  What is the best use of my time when seeking my next position? Is my LinkedIn profile searchable? Is volunteering in a career or organization of interest a good idea? How can I respond to employers who think I am overqualified or lacking experience, too young or too old, have too much or too little education? 

Ms. Wilson, who has a M.Ed., and CMF, brings a lifetime’s worth of expertise to her independent career coaching practice. Professionally recognized as a Board certified Career Management Fellow from the Institute of Career Certification International, Beth has held leadership roles in global and local professional associations. She earned a M.Ed. in Counseling from Pennsylvania State University and a B.A. in Psychology from Dickinson College. She serves on the Steering Committee of Joseph’s People Central Delaware County. 

Joseph’s People of Delaware County is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping unemployed and underemployed workers. Local, affiliated chapters provide networking opportunities, guidance and emotional support to job seekers and career changers. For more information visit or email

Ask Beth Ann Wilson Career Coach
Ask Beth Ann Wilson Career Coach

Bait of pleasure William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit 8-22-19

Bait of pleasure William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit 8-22-19

Ilhbaf huk mvssf hyl vsk jvtwhupvuz.
Iluqhtpu Myhurspu 

Bait of pleasure William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit 8-22-19 Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: shew forth his salvation from day to day. PsalmsAnswer to yesterday’s William Lawrence Sr Cryptowit quote puzzle: Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Thomas Jefferson

Check out the Dom Giordano Show on WPHT 1210 AM