We have a final!

By now everyone should know the drill, some Hollywood celebrity flies into the area to pick up a taxpayer funded welfare check, films a few scenes and immediately flies the heck out (Mississippi / State of Louisiana in general) or sticks around and goes on a bender in the French Quarter (New Orleans). Either way when word gets out that a celeb. is in town to pick up their welfare check the local media is quick to fawn.  It is against that backdrop that when a heavyweight reporter like Karen Nelson is assigned to write a story about Hugh Jackman filming a few taxpayer funded movie scenes at Michoud, something snapped inside and a twitter poll was born:

Frankly the poll results, nonscientific as they are warmed the cockles of my heart.  Had I been able to vote in the Slabbed poll I would have gone second option but what is clear is the majority of you that took time to vote know exactly what the score is: Continue reading “We have a final!”

Meantime over in New Orleans a Film Tax Credit Scam Trial of the Rich and Famous

The gang rides again with ninja lawyer protecting the flanks.

High-stakes trial over La. film program gets under way in federal court ~ Gordon Russell

One of the defendants is Peter Hoffman, a colorful Hollywood producer who has beaten a federal rap once before. Another is Michael Arata, an actor and lawyer who is married to Emily Arata, a top deputy to Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The Aratas are related by marriage to Fred Heebe, the landfill magnate who was the target of a federal investigation when he famously brought down former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and two of his top lieutenants by bringing to light an online-commenting scandal. Arata is being represented by Billy Gibbens, one of the lawyers who helped Heebe get the federal probe of him dropped.

Thank God Gordon Russell can still write the word Heebe for the Advocate as I’m being told that leaving that singular word in comments at NOLA.com will result in immediate comment deletion.

In other news the Advocate is taking a victory lap sponsored by Lucky Coin:

Rouses, Winn-Dixie shifting ads to The New Orleans Advocate ~ Timothy Boone

The kind of math politicians seem to love…..

Because if private business people cut such deals they would quickly find themselves insolvent:

Two New Orleans-area lawmakers draft legislation to rein in film tax credit program; critics say proposals are too timid ~ Gordon Russell

And here is the key verbiage:

State-sponsored studies have found that Louisiana taxpayers get less than 25 cents back in tax money for every $1 they invest in the film program

Spending a dollar to gain a quarter is an economic fools game but politicians across the south seem eager to continue squandering tax dollars in such a fashion. I’d personally rather the state put that money in roads, bridges, education and if that means there will be no more locally shot films so be it. In fact, everyone seems to understand these taxpayer handouts are the only reason Hollywood is here.

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Monday Open: SRHS Retirees taking the road show to Jackson, JPSO caught stomping defenseless teen on camera plus the Congroovancy loses one

Links, links and more links folks. Add you own in comments:

SRHS retirees turned protesters trying to save pension ~ Anita Lee

Hospital retirees meet today to plan a rally at the State Capitol ~ WLOX

AG opinions say Biloxi can’t sell naming rights to ballfield ~ Mary Perez

New Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report: High school student Brady Becker a drunken aggressor who threw punch, tried to strangle deputy ~ Jim Mustian

Yep, sure looks like the kid was strangling that deputy while the deputy was beating his face in.

Supers seek answers in DWSD controversy ~ Dwayne Bremer

Sheriff probes DHS fraud claims ~ Dwayne Bremer

Finally, for all the rocket scientists in the media and legislature that think movie tax credits are actually a good idea I have this from Lee Zurik:

Finally I note the passing of attorney/blogger Tom Freeland of Oxford over the weekend. Tom’s contributions to the online scene here in Mississippi were immense. He was a talented writer whose ongoing work online will be missed.

Monday Open: Advocate Series on Corporate Welfare rolls out

This is a topic whose time for exploration across the South is really past due. That said Gordon Russell and the gang at the Advocate put out a whopper of a first installment on Louisiana’s corporate welfare programs, which are being funded off the backs of its colleges and universities:

Special Report: Giving away Louisiana ~ The Advocate

Locally the pension disaster at the Singing River Hospital system continues to pop up in the news. A second bite at the subject here on Slabbed is past due.

In any event here are a couple more links starting with the MDOC scandal:

Benjamin Story Raises More Questions ~ Jackson Jambalaya

Conservative Activists Hint at Undercover Stunt Targeting Mary Landrieu ~ Elizabeth Crisp

Finally the local GOP is formally disavowing Louisiana PSC candidate Forest Wright, whose RINO baggage was first rolled out here on Slabbed back in September in response to party faithful contacting me. With PSC Candidate Eric Skrmetta being endorsed in commercials by folks like Steve Scalise, Forest Wright is now on the defensive with ads like the following hitting the airways:

In response to Wright’s ads alleging Skrmetta is corrupt, Team Skrmetta went into the CDC and got themselves a temporary restraining order on some of the more over the top Wright ads: Continue reading “Monday Open: Advocate Series on Corporate Welfare rolls out”

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: Continue reading “Latest boondoggle proposed by Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority: Jackson Movie Studio”