Political fool’s gold is the result of good intentions mixed with unwise policy. Texas has political fool’s gold in the form of tax incentives designed to attract the film industry. Texas lawmakers need to take a machete to these film industry favors.
The Texas tax incentives, which include sales tax exemptions, a 6% state occupancy tax refunds, and fuel tax refunds, can be forfeited if a film paints Texas in a bad light.
“Machete”, a film by Robert Rodriquez, is one film that may forfeit these perks due to major concerns about its possible anti-Texas agenda.
A little context: Robert Rodriguez capitalized on the Arizona Immigration controversy by releasing a fake trailer for “Machete”, portraying the film as violently anti-American and anti-white just as the controversy was at its hottest. Though done in poor taste, it gets high marks for marketing savvy. However, the Governor’s Office is now waiting to view the final version before making its determination about the incentives.
Freedom-loving people don’t want the government picking market winners and losers, be they favored industries or favored members of industries.
If we allow government to favor one industry over the other we’re incentivizing crony capitalism wherein he with the most expensive lobbying firm wins laws to stifle his competition.
Think about it: When the widget industry sees how well the film industry has done in Texas through governmental favoritism it will hire lobbyists to get the same treatment. Are we so naive as to think industries who win the lobbying game will stop with tax incentives? A better question: why would they? They own the government at that point. Or, at least, they rent it.
Plus, agenda-specific incentives may seem great when a government sharing your agenda is in power, but when the other guys take over it becomes a nightmare. Frankly, I don’t like the idea of an anti-white, anti-American, and anti-Texan movie either, but I’d rather vote with my wallet, refusing to support such trash, than approve of the government injecting itself into the process before it reaches us. Texans have a history of preferring to keep that kind of discretion out of the governments hands entirely.
Imagine what could happen: Fast forward 20 years when Texas governmental favoritism has lured the film industry entirely out of Hollywood and into the Lone Star State through crony capitalism, so that film industry lobbyists now infest the capitol in Austin. Do you think our state might start to look a little more like California at that point? Is there a single Texan who likes that idea?
Smart Texans will ensure businesses are attracted to Texas by the least burdensome laws in the country, but the rules also have to be fair or we invite an unholy alliance of business and government that results in legislation purchased to stifle competition. That is, we invite the California and Michigan model.