Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

The value of film and media-related incentives

16th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

The recently indication that the state is considering major changes in film and media-related incentives causes me great concern. If the State is only capable of evaluating pure numerical data in evaluating the return on investment of various programs, it might as well set up a computer program and eliminate the human element altogether. The problem is a computer cannot take into account intangible benefits as fully as the human mind that takes intuition into account in evaluation. How can a computer calculate the value that the increased film and media activity in Louisiana creates through national and international attention? Our recognition as the “Hollywood of the South,” together with other economic development successes, is putting Louisiana on the map and drawing attention to the desirability and quality of life that is available in Louisiana. This industry helps provide additional incentives to move to Louisiana. We are now viewed as a chic place to live with an interesting and high quality of life. How do you determine the value of bright new college graduates and others wanting to make Louisiana home?

I currently serve as the president of the Industrial Development Board, a non-profit, economic development corporation that currently owns the Katrina-damaged Six Flags site. To the good fortune of the city, the site is a magnet for filming due to its location in New Orleans, its unusual environment and large open areas that can be used for construction of movie sets. This site is and has been in relatively constant use by the film industry as a preferred filming location. Without the film industry, this site would be a much greater liability to the city. In addition to all the other reasons and the intangible benefits of the industry, the proposed changes to the film and media incentives will almost certainly eliminate the desirability of use of this currently underdeveloped damaged property.

This is just one example of a need to continue with aggressive film and media incentives.

– Alan H. Philipson

This article originally published in the April 15, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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