Lights, Camera, Tax Break: Kitzhaber greenlights bigger tax subsidies for moviemakers.

Willamette Week:

Even as Gov. John Kitzhaber is slashing Oregon’s budget, he’s pushing for a big expansion to a tax credit for movie production in the state.

On Feb. 7, Kitzhaber’s proposed cuts of nearly $3.5 billion in current service levels in the next two years landed him on page 1 of The Wall Street Journal, in a story titled “Governors Chop Spending.”

But last week, the Democratic governor also introduced legislation that would jack up the tax revenue the state funnels back to moviemakers from $7.5 million a year to $12.5 million. (The film credit began in 2003 and will expire this year if lawmakers do not vote to extend it.)

The $12.5 million is pocket lint compared with the state’s annual budget of about $7.4 billion. But the proposed expansion of the film tax credit rankles critics who say it’s an extension of an inefficient program that rewards the wealthiest Oregonians on the basis of some fairly thin evidence that it creates jobs.

“This scheme is merely enriching some very well-to-do people, and it is very inefficient,” says Chuck Sheketoff, director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy.

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