Taxpayers Heavily Subsidize Netflix Series “House of Cards”

June 20, 2013

Mark FisherAs the State House is being clad in marble and dressed to look like the nation’s capitol for the Netflix original series, “House of Cards,” Maryland Taxpayers are helping to foot the bill.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (“DBED”) is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for certain film productions in the state. Film producers are allowed to apply for a tax credit equal to 25% of their expenses incurred during the production. This includes up to $500,000 for salaries to individual actors!

During the 2013 Legislative Assembly, the tax credit for film productions was increased to $40 million in Senate Bill 183 at the request of Governor O’Malley.

Maryland’s non-partisan legislative analysts admitted that “the bill has minimal or no impact on small businesses [and] the Department of Legislative Services agrees with this assessment.”

The tax credit will go to production studios such as Los Angeles-based Media Rights Capital (“MRC”) that produces House of Cards. MRC is an independent studio backed by fortune 500 companies like Goldman Sachs and AT&T. So far, the House of Cards is slated to receive $11.68 million in tax credits from Maryland taxpayers. This tax credit certainly appears to be nothing more than a handout to Hollywood from Governor O’Malley.

“In a frantic budget environment that has resulted in forty (40) consecutive tax increases by the Governor, it seems odd and even cruel that the film industry should receive free money on the backs of hard-working Maryland taxpayers”, said Delegate Mark N. Fisher (R-Calvert). “This is textbook crony-capitalism”, Fisher said.

“Ironically, “House of Cards,” which is a show about a corrupt politician seeking to climb the political ladder at all costs, could potentially borrow some material from the state in which it is filmed”, said Fisher.

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