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Tax Incentives: Film at Eleven

Contrary to the opinion that more money for education, not lower taxes, is what will make Nevada attractive to companies opening or moving their operations here, Gov. Brian Sandoval, unequivocally, declared this week that offering tax credits to Apple is what persuaded the technology giant to open a facility in Reno/Sparks.

“Nevada and local authorities had to agree to $89 million in county, city and state tax abatements to lure Apple,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That would give the company an effective sales tax rate of less than 1 percent.”

“It’s very aggressive,” Gov. Sandoval explained to the paper in an interview. “That’s what we had to do to get them here.” Nevada was reportedly competing for the facility with Oregon and other states.

Well, if tax incentives are what will bring more business to Nevada…then why didn’t the Nevada Legislature last session extend film tax credits to the movie industry?

As it is, Nevada is one of only ten states not to offer any kind of tax incentive to movie and TV producers to get them to film here in Nevada instead of other states. Which seems kinda dumb since we like to think of ourselves as the entertainment capital of the world.

A proposal to establish such an incentive was introduced in the 2011 session, but withered and died on the vine as legislators instead devoted their time and energy to re-imposing some $620 million worth of business-retarding tax hikes.

Now, I’m not passing a value judgment on whether or not tax incentives are good or bad. What I’m saying is that if they’re good for the goose, they should be good for the gander. Meaning if tax incentives are good for Apple, they should be good for Hollywood. Right?