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Mooovies Out Of New Orleans!

I like John Maginnis. He seems a sensible observer of Louisiana politics: smart, level-headed and, if not impartial, at least capable of seeing both sides of an issue. Here he explains, among other things, why Louisiana's nascent status as "Hollywood South" isn't the great economic boon it masquerades as:

Through its Movie Production Tax Credit Program, the state, in effect, covers 25 percent of a film company's in-state expenses and 35 percent of its in-state labor. This has brought producers flocking and has catapulted Louisiana to the third leading movie-making state, behind California and New York.

A state-commissioned economic study released last week counted $462 million in direct spending on movie production in 2007, including 3,000 direct jobs paying on average about $35,000 per year, a $105 million payroll.

On the other side of the ledger, the state paid out $115 million in tax credits to investors, who purchased them at a discount from the movie producers. Minus state taxes paid on film projects, the net cost to Louisiana was $101 million -- or about equal what those 3,000 direct jobs paid.

It's a new, clean, glamorous industry, but not cheap. A bunch more economic development like it would break the state.

I know people who have gotten some of the jobs created, and if these jobs helped them for a little while, then I am happy that they were helped even if the state as whole wasn't. But I still want the movies out of my city, out of my state, and most especially out of my pocketbook.

It bothers me tremendously that young people these days don't seem to think Catcher in the Rye is a good novel. I could write a treatise about all the reasons it bothers me, but one of the main reasons is that I think Holden Caulfield was absolutely spot-on about how the movie industry is a sort of fecal King Midas, turning everything it touches to shit. However, my hatred is probably best summed up by Ray Bradbury's little-known short story "Sun and Shadow." The story's protagonist, Ricardo, is all het up about a fashion shoot in his small Mexican village, but the basic principles remain the same.

*Reprinted in Golden Apples of the Sun, a collection which is itself reprinted in its entirety, along with A Medicine for Melancholy, in the Bradbury omnibus Twice 22.

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