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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Are Hollywood Tax Credits Worth It?

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) - So did you see the movie R.I.P.D. this summer??

Oh, you never heard of it?

Well you’re not alone. The movie, starring the great Jeff Bridges, is one of the biggest flops in a summer that’s had one after another.

Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds appear in a scene from RIPD. (Credit: Universal Studios)

Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds appear in a scene from RIPD. (Credit: Universal Studios)

R.I.P.D. was filmed here in Massachusetts – Boston and Raynham specifically – and the production got a lot of help from the state through millions of dollars in tax credits.

The idea here is pretty simple. To lure Hollywood studios with tax incentives so they make movies in Massachusetts, hire local workers, spend money and make the state look good to the rest of the country.

This has turned into big business. The State Department of Revenue says Universal Studios got almost $27 million in tax credits for making R.I.P.D. here.

The credits were enough to get the movie here and put some local people to work. We like that. But those jobs don’t come cheap. They have cost the state an average of $128,000 for every job that’s gone to a Massachusetts resident since this program began over 7 years ago, according to state figures.

Now some argue we could have saved a lot of trouble by just giving that money directly to those who need it.

But supporters of the program point to the un-quantifiable benefits – the PR and the draw for tourists who see Massachusetts look cool in the movies.

But it’s hard to make that argument when you get movies like R.I.P.D. and no one sees them.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz

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