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Monday, June 7, 2010

Federalism and Film

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Texans are bombarding the governor's office with calls and letters to try to stop tax dollars from subsidizing a satirical film about a vengeful illegal immigrant.

The coming film, a bloody action movie with a star-studded cast titled "Machete," could be eligible for more than $1.5 million of taxpayer subsidies under a program designed to encourage directors to shoot in Texas.

The state Film Commission may deny subsidies to any production that includes "inappropriate content or content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion." But the commission—eager to woo as many movie, advertising and video-game shoots as possible—has never exercised that clause. "You have to understand that we want to create jobs," said Bob Hudgins, the commission's director. "That is our focus."

The story points to a contemporary issue of federalism. States like to attract film production because it generates jobs and business. They compete with one another to offer support and benefits to film companies. Here is a list of state film commissions. Here is a report from the National Governors Assocation.