Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Trouble with the Free Money?

I'm shocked, SHOCKED.

Several members of the Louisiana Legislature said they were concerned about fraud taking place in Louisiana's film tax credit program. State Inspector General Steven Street told state House members Tuesday that his office has been dealing with film tax credit problems regularly over the past year.

"I can just tell you a lot of our business of late has involved fraud in the film tax program," Street told people on the state House Appropriations Committee.

A NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune report released Wednesday detailed one such potential case of fraud. Two men are accused of lying about a New Orleans-based project in order to get $1.3 million in film tax credits from the state.

The Inspector General suggested the Legislature put stronger audit oversight in place for film production tax breaks. House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, asked Street to work with Leger and other lawmakers to craft legislation that might curtail the fraud.

"I want us to identify specific areas where we can make improvements," he said.

The film tax credits are controversial within the Legislature. Elected officials from South Louisiana are more supportive of the program, since many of the movie and television productions locate there. But many legislators from other parts of the state would rather use the state's public money in other ways. ...

It's disheartening that sharpsters would try to dupe state administrators into giving them cash they didn't deserve. Don't these people know the moolah is earmarked for Time-Warner, Disney, Viacom, Fox and other fine entertainment conglomerates that really, really need the donations?

Some people just don't get it.


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