Wednesday, 25 June 2014 08:57
Louisiana Taxpayer Money Pours out on Jindal's Duck Dynasty
Written by 

robertson-philIf the New Orleans Times-Picayune can, so far, on 13 occasions in 15 months stump for expanding Medicaid that would cost taxpayers more money for worse outcomes for anybody put into that program, then this space can continue to point out the stupidity of corporate welfare for the film/television industry.

 That’s what comes across from the revelation that the hit television show (although the ratings are beginning to erode from all-time record highs for a nonfiction series in TV history) Duck Dynasty pockets an estimated cool $70,000 an episode from Louisiana taxpayers – and it now is in its sixth season. Having completed 61 episodes through season 5, by the end of this season (just kicked off with a special guest appearance by Gov. Bobby Jindal), taxpayers will be estimated to have plunked down over $5 million to subsidize the show.

Courtesy, of course, of the film and television tax credits that the state has given away now for a dozen years where the total amount forgone is approaching $1 billion. The Robertson clan that heads the Duck Commander franchise on which the show is based (and who dabble in politics) gets $200,000 an episode for its participation, but chances are that would include no taxpayer dollars without the subsidy because, hey, with their northeast Louisiana home base if you want to do a series about them, the producers and A&E network have to come to the state anyway to do it regardless of any subsidy.

In other words, that 70 grand likely has nothing to do with the decision to produce the popular series and needn’t have been paid in the first place. On the flip side of the coin, there are a number of films and series that one day will be lionized canonically (the heavy sarcasm – The Skeleton Key, Drive Angry, The Governor’s Wife, anybody? – is entirely intentional) that probably never would have gotten made in Louisiana without these credits, which can kick back to the moneyed backers of these efforts as much as 30 percent of costs in forgone taxes and/or selling of these credits at 75 cents to the buck or better.

Which demonstrates the idiocy of it all when understanding that, over this time span, the state has gotten back roughly one in seven dollars paid out. While it’s not the largest state tax credit paid out that denies the state revenues, dollar-for-dollar it’s probably the most wasteful. Further, it distorts the marketplace by sucking in dollars to an activity that the market otherwise wouldn't support and away from other activities that would be more productive.

Unfortunately, this past regular session being a “general” session where constitutionally the Legislature cannot consider decreases in tax credits, this waste could not be corrected in 2014. And while 2015 allows for that, constitutionally any reduction in this requires a two-thirds supermajority, an especially difficult standard to attain in an election year where the special interests that profit from this massive transfer of wealth from alternative uses on functions such as healthcare and higher education into the pockets of a few thousand people, the majority of that accruing to just a handful of already well-off folks, will lobby like mad to prevent their rollback (which only has been done to minor degree ever since they were made permanent, despite may proposals to go farther) through promises of campaign cash and votes.

Perhaps the most compelling testimony against the continuation of these is that the blind pig known as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, joined with its subsidiary and equally sightless hog the Louisiana Budget Project, finds by their condemnation of these credits axiomatic opposition to big government and its spending that occasional acorn. Even in non-election years, far-sighted legislators have whiffed in trying to get their less courageous colleagues to circumscribe the program, but with costs in so many other areas of state government continuing to escalate, one can dream that enough of them next year will get it together enough at least to modify in generosity, if not outright ending, this farcical giveaway.

Jeffrey Sadow

Jeffrey Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.   He writes a daily conservative blog called Between The Lines

Login to post comments
  • Cat Fights on the Hot Cement Confederate New Orleans statues
  • Ex-Saints, Bears, Bills, NFL Exec, Jim W. Miller discusses NFL Draft tomorrow
  • Trump's new plan; Curtains on tax returns release; 40% say Trump-Russia; Probing Obama admin
  • Watch Louisiana Governor Edwards talk about CAT Tax failure

catRarely, have I seen few issues that have generated as much raw heat, tension, and passion than the Confederate monuments controversy. 

Just as existed during the real civil war, where brothers battled brothers, social media is the battleground, particularly Facebook, pitting friend against friend.

On one side of the tense divide, there are those who are protecting the New Orleans civil war era monuments.  Burnt in effigy, forever, is the symbol of Mayor Mitch Landrieu for up-ending what the monument protectors consider to be the loving civil society of New Orleans.

Lately, events have turned somewhat militaristic.

Some protectors of the Confederate monuments have been staying vigilant, in person and online, even surveilling during the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the next Mayor Landrieu attack. On Sunday morning, with protections of snipers, masked workers and a dumbstruck audience, the worst of all of the monuments was cut and carried., the Liberty Monument. 

Read More

miller nfl live2 5It’s D-Day or Draft Day tomorrow in the NFL.

More specifically, Thursday represents the first day of the NFL draft 2017.

Read More


trump curtainsThe major President Trump news of the day focuses upon taxes, not only the tax cuts he is proposing but his own taxes, which he obviously, refuses to unveil.


Read More

edwards play money 1

At a press conference today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the CAT Tax did not pass the House Ways and Means Committee.  The Governor, in addressing the media said that "the fate of that bill was decided long before we unveiled it".

Read More


Sen. Appel talks budget, economy


Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1