Hollywood Spends All Its Tax Break Money

If you're angry about state budget cuts, one of the most frustrating things to watch in recent years has been the willingness of the legislature to cut taxes even as it shortens the school year and snips away key parts of the safety net.

Of course, tax cuts are relatively easy in California's strange budget system. Tax increases and budget bills require two-thirds of the legislature, but taxes can be cut with a simple majority. And so California's legislature has cut taxes for corporations and created a new tax incentive for Holllywood.

It's hard to tell what the impact of the corporate tax cut has been. But the tax incentives for productions that remain in California have been a hit. Too much of a hit. In fact, California has already handed all $100 million of the tax credits bugeted for this year. There's now a waiting list.

It's hard to know what the impact of these tax credits have been. The Schwarzenegger administration hast put out numbers claiming that the state is attracting more than $6 in new direct spending for every $1 it spends on the credits, but as Jon Healey points out on the LA Times site, there are plenty of reasons to doubt those numbers.

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