Spend the $60M on lasting, good jobs

Ohio legislators are being asked to increase tax incentives for films produced in the state and to offer them to stage productions, including Broadway shows touring the state.

Proponents of increasing the current $40 million a year cap to $100 million say that would stimulate Ohio’s economy. They point to a Cleveland State University study indicating that every $1 in incentives boosts Ohio’s economy by $2.01.

Ivan Schwarz, head of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, adds that filmmakers provided more than 50,000 part-time jobs in his city last year.

But once the directors’ chairs and the camera booms were packed up and gone, so were the jobs.

It is a situation similar to that in the construction industry, seemingly the darling of every governor and legislator in the country. Once the work of building taxpayer-funded roads and public building is completed, construction jobs go away.

Using tax incentives to stimulate the economy is not a bad idea. But before they increase the allowances for Hollywood and Broadway producers, Buckeye State lawmakers should consider whether there are better ways to use $60 million a year in incentives to help create good, permanent jobs.