Tax Credits

Movie company breaks aren’t panning out

It would be interesting and for state legislators, perhaps instructive, to hear West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby describe how much good could be done if someone wrote her agency a check for $10 million.

More than what would be accomplished by handing the money to the entertainment moguls in Hollywood, we are willing to bet.

Ruby’s agency has a track record of innovations in promoting our state as a tourist destination. Taxpayers’ money spent there gets results.

In contrast, the state’s tax credit program to promote production of movies in West Virginia does not inspire confidence. An audit report last year concluded that the credit actually cost more than it generated for the state’s economy.

Certainly, the very few communities where major films have been made here have benefited to some extent. And, of course, their residents have had the pleasure of seeing their towns and sometimes, themselves, on the silver screen.

But dollar for dollar, the tax credit has not been good for the Mountain State as a whole.

Yet this week, the House of Delegates not only kept the Film Investment Tax Credit in place, but increased the cap to $10 million.

West Virginia cannot afford to spend that kind of money stroking our collective ego by giving Hollywood millions of dollars it does not need. If we had an extra $10 million, which we do not, it could be put to better use. State senators should reject the credit.

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Vastly more people die of tobacco-related illnesses than of any cause linked to alcohol. Yet in West Virginia, where we require purchasers of alcoholic beverages to be at least 21 years of age, we continue to sell tobacco to anyone who has reached 18.

That is absurd. A bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate would change that. SB 348 would raise the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21. The measure was co-sponsored by state Sens. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, and William Ihlenfeld, D-Ohio.

Some have raised questions of personal liberty regarding the bill. That, too, is absurd. A variety of age-related limits already in effect are intended to safeguard health and safety.

House of Delegates members should approve the bill, too.

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