Get Hollywood Out Of Our Pocket

by Kevin D. Williamson

Andrew, I think that the battle between the state of Maryland and the producers of House of Cards is a little like the Iran-Iraq war: It’s a pity both sides can’t lose.

What we have here is a case of mutual extortion. Maryland imposes extortionate taxes and other expenses on businesses, and business with the clout or scale to do so extort political favors back in the form of tax credits. Everybody loves film-and-television production, and special credits for producers abound, with practically every state offering an incentive program of some sort. Texas, allegedly the last redoubt of American capitalism, pays kickbacks amounting to 5 percent of production costs (6.25 percent for “underused areas”) up to a figure of $2 million for a film, $2.5 million for a television program, $200,000 for commercials, and $250,000 for video games. There are many struggling industries in this country, but I have a hard time believing that Hollywood and the video-game industry is the face of hard times in 2014.

I like Kevin Spacey, wish him all the best in his endeavors, but I want to keep him and his colleagues out of my pocket.