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Boston Globe: Put the Brakes on Tax Breaks

Tax breaks for Ben Affleck. Tax hikes for everyone else.

As he calls for $1.9 billion in new taxes, that proposal didn’t add up for Governor Deval Patrick. So, he’s also proposing to cap the film tax credit at $40 million, according to CommonWealth Magazine.


These are nice tax breaks if you can get them. But on a case-by-case basis, what does the state get in return? According to a Pew Center on the States report, done in April 2012, “No state regularly and rigorously tests whether those investments are working.”

When states do test tax-break policy, results often raise questions about its value. For example, the Pew Center report notes that when Massachusetts analyzed the impact of the film industry tax incentives in 2009, the Department of Revenue estimated they created 1,643 jobs. Yet the agency also estimated that the spending cuts required to pay for the incentives would reduce employment by 1,421 jobs, for a net plus of only 222 jobs.

Read the full column at

Economic Development Tax Incentives

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