Latest boondoggle proposed by Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority: Jackson Movie Studio

God help everyone hold onto their wallets because the Movie Industry is targeting the Mississippi treasury after successfully looting Louisiana’s with taxpayer funded boondoggle. Geoff Pender promotes the scheme for the Clarion Ledger:

Adam Rosenfelt, a film producer and president of Element Pictures with more than 15 feature films to his credit, including “Mr. Brooks” and “Waiting,” wants to create Mississippix Studios, based in Jackson.

And, he wants to create a new program of film incentives that would result in more money coming in to the state, and permanent jobs. Typically film productions are granted tax breaks or other incentives upfront, shoot for a few months then head back to Hollywood with states often seeing little direct financial benefit. Rosenfelt is proposing the state create a loan guarantee program that serves as a “backstop.” If his company is successful, the state pays nothing, and instead gets 10 percent of his profit.

One big clue the latest scheme is gonna be a problem is the guy in Jackson promoting it is:

  1. Spreading a BS story about how much he loves the Mississippi coast which is why he’s been 3 and a half hours away in Jacktown for the past year with his nose up Phil Bryant’s hiney. Bryant, never known for private sector financial acumen was likely sucked right in by the promise of getting to hob nob with Slabbed favorite Bull Durham, who was last seen celebrating his successful shakedown of BP back during the oil spill.
  2. Was a “pioneer in state film incentives, and helped develop Louisiana’s groundbreaking motion picture tax credit program.” This program was groundbreaking in the sheer amount of taxpayer money that has been pissed away into the pockets of people like Rosenfelt, who now splits his time between Los Angeles and Jackson.

In fact pioneering the latest movie industry scheme to fleece the taxpayers is exactly what Rosenfelt is doing in Mississippi because he’d no more live in Jackson, Mississippi than he would Montgomery Alabama if the taxpayers weren’t gonna pay for it some sort of way. Louisiana pissed away over one bllion dollars before people started to ask the critical questions that had not been previously asked about Rosenfelt’s Louisiana film tax credit boondoggle according the Louisiana Budget Project (PDF of their 12 page report can be found here).

One would naturally think that after the financial crash just 5 years ago the problems with Rosenfelt’s scheme would be apparent, especially to Lt. Gov Tate Reeves, who comes from a financial background.  Here are Rosenfelt’s talking points:

What they are not promoting is the fact that Mississippi taxpayers would be on the hook for losses if a film does not do well inserting the state clearly into the film industry in the role of loss financier.  For GOP types that pretend to be free market capitalists what is being proposed is more precisely called socialism but beyond that I bring up the financial crash of 2008 because it was a implied promise of a backstop aka a Government bailout that caused the problems on Wall Street.  More simply put, when someone else is paying for the losses people tend to take uncalculated risks.  How soon we forget the concept of Moral Hazard.

Here is the bottom line and why Rosenfelt would never get a bank to make him such a loan under such terms and conditions. Rosenfelt’s movie studio can only make money if someone else is paying for the losers and since banks are not charity organizations they’d never take such a fool’s deal. Don’t get me wrong, if Rosenfelt wants to put down roots in Jacktown, build a movie studio and start making movies without a taxpayer subsidy more power to the man. But if his business plan is predicated on a taxpayer subsidy (and that is exactly what this is), then the Gov should have the sense to tell him to go somewhere else.

18 thoughts on “Latest boondoggle proposed by Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority: Jackson Movie Studio”

  1. All schemes in Ms. these days seems to be routed thru or controlled by the dear friends at MDA. We should also look at the people who worked there or in sister agencies and then used those connections to finance a very good lifestyle . Will we wake up one day to federal indictments of certain individuals involved in the schemes? Sure looks that way to me.

  2. What do politicians not understand about “not having any money to give away?” I know I am far removed from the way they calculate finances, but if my wallet is empty, my children need school books so that their teachers do not have to reach into their underpaid pockets, etc. ( we could go on forever) wouldn’t I just tell this nice man I would love to participate in his endeavor, but at the moment I have other pressing “priorities” (ah, that’s the word they’ve stricken from their vocabularies) that must take precedence over him and his needs. And, they continue to scratch their heads as to what is wrong with this state. If they’d quit scratching everyones backs and getting theirs scratched, we could maybe make some progress. Thanks again, Doug, for being on top of things.

  3. I knew that name gonged a bong…..

    http://www.nola.com/timespic/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-6/1227249009272720.xml&coll=1

    Algiers film center proposed
    Lawyer asks state for GO Zone bonds
    Friday, November 21, 2008
    By Robert Travis Scott
    Capital bureau
    BATON ROUGE — Two California movie producers are trying to put together a deal to build a 135,000-square-foot film center in Algiers called Orleans Studios.

    Adam Rosenfelt and Marc Schaberg, both with moviemaking experience in Louisiana, are working with Baton Rouge lawyer Tres Bernhard on a $38 million project calling for two sound stages, warehouses, back lot areas and production offices, according to materials provided to the state Bond Commission.

    It would be located on a mostly empty 11-acre site bordered by Thayer Street, Atlantic Avenue, Eliza Street and Opelousas Avenue, a few blocks from the planned Federal City project.

    Bernhard appeared before the Bond Commission on Thursday to request up to $15 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds, a federal and state program offering favorable lending for private projects in areas affected by the 2005 hurricanes.”….. MORE AT LINK

    I do know that property is still a big empty lot. SUPERFUND site, according to a prof. of geography formerly at UNO.

    1. Ding! Ding! Ding! PeeeeeW!

      ORLEANS STUDIOS, LLC Limited Liability Company BATON ROUGE Inactive

      Previous Names
      Business: ORLEANS STUDIOS, LLC
      Charter Number: 36853317K
      Registration Date: 9/16/2008
      Domicile Address
      450 LAUREL STREET
      STE. 1600
      BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
      Mailing Address
      C/O JAMES M. BERNHARD, III
      450 LAUREL STREET, STE. 1600
      BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
      Status
      Status: Inactive
      Inactive Reason: Action by Secretary of State
      File Date: 9/16/2008
      Last Report Filed: N/A
      Type: Limited Liability Company

      Registered Agent(s)
      Agent: JAMES M. BERNHARD, III
      Address 1: 450 LAUREL STREET
      Address 2: STE. 1600
      City, State, Zip: BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
      Appointment Date: 9/16/2008

      Officer(s) Additional Officers: No
      Officer: MARC SCHABURG
      Title: Member
      Address 1: 450 LAUREL STREET
      Address 2: STE. 1600
      City, State, Zip: BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
      Officer: ADAM ROSENFELT
      Title: Member
      Address 1: 450 LAUREL STREET
      Address 2: STE. 1600
      City, State, Zip: BATON ROUGE, LA 70821
      Officer: JAMES M. BERNHARD, III
      Title: Member
      Address 1: 450 LAUREL STREET
      Address 2: STE. 1600
      City, State, Zip: BATON ROUGE, LA 70821

      Amendments on File (1)
      Description Date
      Revoked 11/18/2011

  4. Well that exposure did not take long. Sounds like this group moves from state to state looking for the taxpayers to be responsible for the failures they may experience. Next I guess we will find out the MDA has given Frontier an emergency contract to spread the good word about Mr. Rosenfelt and Element Pictures. They were all together with Phil just a few days ago in the peoples house. From Dan Akroyd to Mick Jaegger they are really putting on a show and “Gettin’ on up” here in Ms.

  5. Oh my….gets funnier and funnier….. Morris Bart? LIFT? Rue? Challenged olfactory processing?

    Louisiana is back in the movies
    $200 million deal to be signed today
    Thursday, September 14, 2006
    By Jaquetta White
    Business writer
    In a major achievement for the state’s recovering film industry, a local production company and its California partner are expected to announce a deal today to bring more than $200 million in feature movie production to Louisiana during the next three years.

    Under the terms of the deal, LIFT Films of New Orleans and Element Films of Los Angeles will partner on the production of at least eight and as many as 15 films. All the films will be shot in Louisiana.

    “I think the state has done a remarkable job of welcoming the film industry,” Element Films President Adam Rosenfelt said. “This is a recommitment to Louisiana.”

    LIFT Films is a new venture formed by the Louisiana Institute of Film Technology and Bart Productions, a film and television production company headed by New Orleans lawyer Morris Bart. Element will select the projects and LIFT will hire local crews to work on them, Bart said.

    Each film will have a production budget in the $10 million to $20 million range, Bart said. The first film under the deal, “College,” a comedy about three high school seniors who have a wild weekend while visiting a local university as prospective freshmen, will begin pre-production in New Orleans this fall. The cast has not yet been assembled and locations are still being scouted, Bart said.

    Stephen Rue, president of the Motion Picture and Television Association of Louisiana, who was not involved in the deal, called the news “extremely encouraging.”

    “I suspect that its going to bring more of the film business back to the greater New Orleans area,” Rue said. “A lot of people are hovering in the Shreveport area, unsure of the film landscape in New Orleans.”

    http://www.nola.com/frontpage/t-p/index.ssf?/base/news-6/115821584567870.xml

  6. Will the next film produced in Louisiana be about the LSU students helping to pay their way through college by hanging out with sugar daddies ? Could be rated PG because it does not include sex. “Tiger Paw Candy” would be a good name. They are shooting a film next week on Hyway 67 next week I hear. Guess this is the beginning of something to replace the dying casino industry.

    1. And the crowd shouts DMR! DMR! DMR! DMR! I too have been waiting in angst and hope it includes the upcoming love fest between Scott Walker and Michael Janus. These hotty toddy twin brothers from different mothers are about to find out how real the friendship is that they developed in the back rooms of the Columns @ 132. Walker got him into this mess and just like Scotty did to someone else over in Ocean Springs, he ruined Janus chance of being Mayor of Biloxi ,which he thought was his destiny. I have a feeling it is going to be a “fee for all” in the upcoming trial.

      1. Alright guys. I’m fighting a cold so I’m not as quick on the draw as normal. I have a short post working in drafts as I speak.

  7. Good grief you people are daft. (someone is gonna claim I’m not from Mississippi because I used the word “daft” …but it’s about the nicest word I can find for this kind of closed mindedness)

    God forbid someone actually tries to build an INDUSTRY in Mississippi, with jobs and infrastructure and a creative economy. Why is it so hard to believe that this gentleman wants to do just that? Why wouldn’t the state welcome him with open arms? More movies are made now in Louisiana than anywhere else. The amount of money that’s been pumped into New Orleans as a result of that industry is astounding. How could they have recovered without it? Why can’t we get some of that goodness across state lines? I see the argument that taxpayers’ mitigating the risk is tricky…but must we be so quick to assume that this idea of creating an industry is a waste?

    1. No, we’re tired of seeing politicians pissing away our hard earned tax dollars on economic development boondoggles. I see you ignorantly cite Louisiana’s program as some sort of success story when the fact is their tax credit program has given away far more tax dollars than state ever gets back subsidizing these so called private business people.

      There is a phrase here in Mississippi for folks like Rosenfelt, “Big hat, no cattle”. Let him build a movie studios out of his own pocket if it is such a goldmine.

  8. We will never have economic success by ” buying jobs”. Our only hope is through a strong public education system that includes skills training.

    1. As a private practice CPA I can assure you there are homegrown Mississippi businesses that did not require any government handouts to both prosper and provide a living wage plus to their employees. These are the exact businesses that get gang raped on their taxes when their tax money is squandered by the some political hack at MDA and these boondoggles. They’d much rather have a trained talent pool of job seekers than a government subsidized movie studio in Jackson.

      People wonder how I can have a CPA practice and blog in the hard hitting fashion that I employ. The reason is simple, as I am registering the small business community’s outrage at politicians that rob their own people blind or squander scarce tax dollars via sheer incompetence.

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