The major contentions of the report are:
- State film subsidies are costly to states and generous to movie producers.
- Subsidies reward companies for production that they might have done anyway.
- The best jobs go to non-residents.
- Subsidies don’t pay for themselves .
- No state can “win” the film subsidy war .
- Supporters of subsidies rely on flawed studies.
Here is their explanation on how Ohio's "refundable film tax credit" works:
"If a producer lacks sufficient tax liability to use all of a refundable film tax credit, the state pays the producer the whole credit anyway, in effect giving the producer an outright cash grant. For example, suppose that a producer is awarded a film tax credit of $100,000 but has a pre-credit tax liability of only $50,000. A non-refundable credit would reduce the producer’s tax liability to $0 but leave it with $50,000 in unusable credits. If the tax credit is refundable, the state pays the producer $100,000, including the $50,000 in credits it otherwise could not use."
“Our intent to is create an infrastructure (for film-making),” Henthorn said, “and not simply bring in films for six weeks.”