Pork for Hollywood? Obama Stimulus Package Includes Film Tax Write-Off

A list issued by House Republican leaders Monday night says the massive stimulus bill includes a $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie investors in big budget movie projects over an 11-year period.


Thinking of investing in a big-budget Hollywood movie but afraid to take the financial risk? Well the Obama administration’s $900 billion stimulus package could include a tax break for you.

According to a list issued by House Republican leaders Monday night, the massive – and growing – bill includes a $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie investors in big budget movie projects over an 11-year period.


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said Tuesday morning that the provision would allow investors in bigger-budget studios to write off 50% of movie making equipment, which could be worth $246 million over 11 years. 
According to Congress Daily, a trade paper, the Senate bill, like the House version, extended tax incentives allowing companies to write off 50% of their equipment costs. But the Senate bill was amended to include "certain motion picture film or videotape," increasing the provision’s cost from $5.07 billion to $5.32 billion.
Congress Daily quoted a lobbyist for the industry as saying that the movie equipment has been "unfairly excluded" from bonus depreciation in the past, which has generally applied to most other equipment purchases.
But Republicans are hopping mad about the addition to the bill, decrying it as an example of pork and of payback from an Obama administration that got lots of love from Hollywood during the campaign.
Sources say that Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma who has been a leader in the fight against entitlements, plans to offer an amendment to strike the provision, as early as today.


Apparently Republicans think that digital conversion is wasteful spending too.


Meanwhle as early as Wednesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-S.F.) is planning to bring to the floor a new bill delaying conversion until June. The measure fell short of a two-thirds vote last week but should sail through on a simple majority vote this week.

As the political battles intensify over one of the largest spending bills in recent years, here’s the GOP’s list of what it calls pork.

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD’s.
• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
• $500 million for state and local fire stations.
• $650 million for wild land fire management on forest service lands.
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
• $850 million for Amtrak.
• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.