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Palin sets the record straight regarding Alaska’s film tax credit

Posted by loricalabrese on March 30, 2011

Rumors are swirling that the announcement of a Sarah Palin 2012 presidential run may possibly come on the Anchorage-based Bob & Mark In the Morning Show April 1. Whether this is true we don’t know, but if Palin does hit the campaign trail, we do know that the investigative reports into any scandalous behavior will be at an all-time high. Just this week, recent investigative reports are focusing on the fact that Palin’s TLC reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” received a $1.2 million subsidy from the state of Alaska and some are claiming this could be problematic for the potential candidate.

The Anchorage Daily News first reported the story in February, but after an analyst at the Tax Foundation posted a blurb on the group’s blog linking to the piece Tuesday, many critics have come forth spinning the situation to give the impression that Alaska’s film production tax credit legislation was somehow solely Palin’s idea hatched up to benefit the Palin’s years before she was ever involved in a documentary series on TLC/Discovery Channel.

The whole notion is ridiculous and Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page on Wednesday to set the record straight.

Palin said, “This bill was not some secret big government agenda. These Alaskan legislators just wanted Alaska to be able to compete with the many other states that offer similar incentives.”

In fact, 43 states have some sort of film industry tax credit. Film tax credits are credited with creating jobs, economic activity, and tax revenue for states, as well as bringing a little glamour to some states that aren’t accustomed to the spotlight and as Palin states, Alaska’ economy is quite unique from other states’ due to their oil and gas revenue.

Palin said, “I can’t speak for the film tax credit programs in other states, but the program in Alaska has been effective. The bipartisan legislation I signed into law in 2008 was borne out of elected lawmakers’ frustration with the fact that shows and films about Alaska were mostly filmed elsewhere. They wanted to incentivize production companies to film in Alaska instead of Canada, Washington state, or Maine. Their bill worked, and as the legislation’s supporters will testify, the state’s economy enjoys the benefits of having this production money circulating right here at home. It was so successful that state lawmakers now want to renew the film production tax credits for another ten years.”

Palin pointed out that Alaska doesn’t have a state income tax, state sales tax, or state property tax. Alaska’s state government is predominately funded by oil and gas revenue, so they’re trying to diversify their economy and create jobs beyond just resource development.

“The dramatic increase in Alaska-based television shows and films are testament to the fact that this legislation worked, and it’s exciting to see our state showcased and appreciated. There has been more film productions here than ever before, and the economic benefit of filming here exceeds the tax credit,” Palin continued.

Yes, many states are debating the effectiveness of their film tax credit, but each state is different and the bottom line is that everything Palin has done is legal. The accusation hinges on the notion that Palin signed the legislation into law knowing that it would personally benefit her.

Palin said, “That’s totally absurd. It wasn’t even my bill, and obviously I had no intention of benefiting from it when I signed it into law in 2008 because I had no idea I would be involved in a documentary series years later. If you’re going to accuse me of benefiting from legislation I signed into law, why stop there? Go ahead and accuse me of “benefiting” from the legislation my administration actually did craft – like for example, our oil and gas evaluation legislation (ACES). You could say I “benefited” from it in the sense that due to ACES the state where I live (Alaska) now enjoys a $12 billion surplus. In fact, you could say that as an Alaskan, I benefited from all of the legislation I championed or signed as governor – just as every Alaskan benefited.”

Kathy Dunn, the ATIA marketing director, told the Associated Press that any and all Alaska press benefits the state.

“Obviously, any time you put Alaska in front of people, no matter the context, it’s a good thing,” Dunn said. “Exposure is always good.”

Alaska visitor numbers increased in 2010 and are expected to continue to grow in 2011.

The first season of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is now available for pre-order.
—–

As published on Examiner.com

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