Governor Palin: Criticism Of Tax Breaks For TV Show ‘Ludicrous’

Last night Stacy responded to the article written by Jim Geraghty criticizing Governor Palin for a law she signed in 2008 that offers tax breaks to film companies who do business in Alaska. Geraghty states that the production company for “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” took part in the program and that it might be “problematic” for the governor “on the campaign trail.”

The Governor in a statement to the The Daily Caller writes:

On the Alaska tax credit for media production companies:

“I can’t speak for the film tax credit programs in other states, but the program in Alaska has been effective. The bipartisan legislation I signed into law in 2008 was borne out of elected lawmakers’ frustration with the fact that shows and films about Alaska were mostly filmed elsewhere. They wanted to incentivize production companies to film in Alaska instead of Canada, Washington state, or Maine. It worked, and as the legislation’s supporters will testify, the state’s economy enjoys the benefits of having this production money circulating right here at home. It was so successful that state lawmakers now want to renew the film production tax credits for another ten years. Keep in mind that we don’t have a state income tax, state sales tax, or state property tax in Alaska. Our state government is predominately funded by oil and gas revenue. Essentially we are using revenue generated from the development of Alaska’s natural resources in order to diversify our economy and create jobs beyond just resource development. Not only does this help promote a new film industry in Alaska, it obviously also has the added benefit of encouraging our tourism industry. These shows and films about Alaska act as perfect tourist advertisements for our state.  People come here to experience what they see on the shows filmed here. The dramatic increase in Alaska-based television shows and films are testament to the fact that this legislation worked, and it’s exciting to see our state showcased and appreciated. For the record, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ was never intended to have a ’second season.’ It was always intended to be an 8-part documentary series with a definitive end date. It was a success for all involved. It highlighted the great beauty and promise of Alaska and our amazing natural resources. I’m proud of it, and I was honored to share Alaska with the rest of the world.”

On criticism for Palin benefiting from a policy she signed into law:

“Why not ask the sponsors, drafters, and supporters of this legislation that would boost job creation if they crafted this bill years ago in order to benefit Sarah Palin? Any suggestion that I somehow did something wrong by signing this legislation is ludicrous. The accusation hinges on the notion that I signed the legislation into law knowing that it would personally benefit me. That’s absurd. Obviously I had no intention of benefiting from it when I signed it into law in 2008 because I had no idea I would be involved in a documentary series years later. If you’re going to accuse me of benefiting from legislation I signed into law, why stop there? One could accuse me of ‘benefiting’ from my administration’s oil and gas evaluation legislation (ACES) in the sense that due to that legislation the state where I live (Alaska) now enjoys a $12 billion surplus. In fact, you could say that as an Alaskan, I benefited from all of the legislation I signed as governor – just as every Alaskan benefited.”

On accusations that Palin is being inconsistent in her views on the role of government and the economy:

“It’s also a false accusation to suggest that signing this bipartisan bill somehow goes against my position on the proper role of government. I’ve said many times that government can play an appropriate role in incentivizing business, creating infrastructure, and leveling the playing field to foster competition so the market picks winners and losers, instead of bureaucrats burdening businesses and picking winners and losers. Again, I can’t speak for what other states do, but Alaska’s film production tax credit program is an effective way to incentivize a new industry that would diversify our economy. It worked. The lawmakers’ successful legislation fit Alaska’s economy, as our economy is quite unique from other states’ due to our oil and gas revenue. Perhaps it would behoove people to learn much more about the 49th state’s young economy before making broad accusations about the efficacy of business programs.”

The full article here


John Hayward at Human Events writes

The economic benefits of such tax subsidies are open to question, but the Alaska program was “created by the legislature and signed into law by Palin” in 2008, long before she knew she’d be starring in a TV show.  The production company, Jean Worldwide Incorporated, applied for the subsidy, not Palin herself.  Other TV shows, including Ice Road Truckers and The Deadliest Catch, have received tax credits under the same program.  I suspect they didn’t make driving or fishing in Alaska seem more appealing to prospective tourists.

What could Palin have done to soothe Jim Geraghty’s concerns?  Insist the producers of her show refuse to take advantage of the substantial tax credit they were entitled to?  Refuse to do the show?  He’s probably right that she’ll take heat for it, but she takes heat for existing. Cable news outlets are happy to employ people like Bill Maher, who feel no qualms about referring to her with crude sexual insults. Somehow I doubt her appearance on a TV show that lawfully took advantage of a tax credit that has been on the books for three years will be her undoing.  As subsidy scandals go, how does it stack up against Barack Obama’s pals at G.E. paying zero dollars in taxes on $5.1 billion in U.S. profits?

Read the entire piece here


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