Mass government subsidizing commercials

The Massachusetts government has never really shed the label of “Taxachusetts” or the bifurcating image of steely-eyed blue collar workers living side by side to smarmy academics.? In truth, that’s probably a fair description of my home state.? And it’s charming and wonderful in every possible way.

To further that end, the state is now subsidizing commercials to be shot locally.

In its high-profile bid to compete with Hollywood and New York as a film production hub, the state is doing more than subsidizing TV series and feature movies through tax credits and sales tax exemptions. It is also underwriting the cost of producing TV commercials in Massachusetts. The Department of Revenue said it has issued more than $2.1 million of tax credits for 37 ad-related productions – with eight more applications pending – since the state started offering incentives two years ago.

Though the state would not reveal recipients’ names, local ad production companies say they have received or will seek funding for commercials promoting Intel computer chips, Head and Shoulders shampoo, and other major corporate brands.

Some public policy watchdogs say the incentives go too far.

“We certainly should not be subsidizing large corporations whose advertising dollars and budgets stretch into the millions,” said Liam Day, a spokesman for the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research in Boston, which generally opposes aid to specific companies or industries.

But supporters say tax credits could help Massachusetts become a prime locale for advertising productions, creating jobs and pumping millions of dollars into the economy. “We’re building a whole new industry,” said William Earon, managing director of Coastal Capital Advisors LLC, a Boston private equity and consulting firm that serves the film industry.

Seems like more corporate welfare, but what do I know.? It probably will help boost the economy, but I find it hard to believe that this is the type of boost to the economy that is long lasting or an actual boost.? Boston and the state should be pumping money into science and technology research, bioengineering and taking advantage of all the freaking colleges.

It would lead to more commercials, like below, filmed in actual locales around the Boston area.? The spot for Ocean Spray was filmed in a Carver cranberry bog.

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