If Ama­zon is fair game, what about Hol­ly­wood?

The Buffalo News - - CONTINUED FROM THE COVER - By Robert Ortt Robert Ortt is a Repub­li­can state sen­a­tor from North Ton­awanda. is an is­sues-ori­ented col­umn that ap­pears on the ed­i­to­rial page each day. Writ­ers must have some back­ground or ex­per­tise on the topic about which they are writ­ing. Sub­mis­sions

The Dolby The­atre in Los An­ge­les re­cently played host to the 2019 Os­cars, where Hol­ly­wood’s most tal­ented ac­tors and glam­orous peo­ple gath­ered to cel­e­brate this year’s best pic­tures.

The Os­cars came at an in­ter­est­ing time – a time when New York is at a cross­roads. The re­cent events sur­round­ing Ama­zon has led to a re­vis­it­ing of the prin­ci­ple of tax­payer-funded cor­po­rate wel­fare. New York State’s film tax credit, cham­pi­oned by the gov­er­nor and down­state rep­re­sen­ta­tives, should not es­cape scru­tiny by elected of­fi­cials, the pub­lic and the me­dia.

Along with Rep. Alexan­dria Oca­sioCortez and other elected of­fi­cials, Se­nate Democrats re­cently op­posed and killed a deal that pro­jected to cre­ate a $24 bil­lion profit and 25,000 jobs for the state of New York. In­stead of set­tling down in Long Is­land City, Ama­zon will now look else­where to cre­ate its next tech­no­log­i­cal hub.

Democrats pointed to la­bor, trans­parency and lo­cal de­vel­op­ment con­cerns in their op­po­si­tion. But once pub­lic out­cry im­pli­cated them in forc­ing tens of bil­lions in tax rev­enue and tens of thou­sands of jobs out of the state, Democrats co­a­lesced around an­other ar­gu­ment: They op­posed the sub­sides Ama­zon would re­ceive in ex­change for their busi­ness.

The only rea­son Ama­zon was will­ing to come to New York was be­cause of the sub­sides it would re­ceive to over­come New York’s sky-high taxes and crip­pling reg­u­la­tions. And thanks to New York Democrats, New York has so­lid­i­fied its po­si­tion and rep­u­ta­tion as one of the worst places to do busi­ness in the coun­try.

But per­haps some good can come from this. The Ama­zon dust has set­tled and Se­nate Democrats are on the record op­pos­ing give­aways to cor­po­ra­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, New York State is re­spon­si­ble for one of the largest film tax cred­its in the coun­try. Our state, and its tax­pay­ers, handed out over $1.2 bil­lion to Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­ers and film­mak­ers over the last four years.

There is no bet­ter time to re­visit our state’s prac­tice of hand­ing out tax­payer dol­lars to stu­dios that pro­duce films in our state. While Se­nate Democrats will face a stiff fight against Gov. An­drew Cuomo and his film in­dus­try back­ers, I would be happy to pro­vide some much need backup on what should not be a par­ti­san is­sue. To­gether, we can stop ask­ing mid­dle-class, hard-work­ing New York­ers to en­rich film stu­dios.

If Democrats were out­raged with Ama­zon and will­ing to jeop­ar­dize a $24 bil­lion profit and 25,000 jobs, tak­ing on Hol­ly­wood seems like a no­brainer for New York’s Democrats. I just hope that Hol­ly­wood’s un­abashed pro­gres­sivism and do­na­tions to Demo­cratic can­di­dates doesn’t cloud the Dems’ judg­ment or sense of moral out­rage. That would be a per­for­mance wor­thy of an Os­car. The ed­i­to­ri­als on this page rep­re­sent the opin­ion of The Buf­falo News ed­i­to­rial board. Mem­bers are Pub­lisher and Pres­i­dent War­ren T. Colville; Ed­i­tor Michael K. Con­nelly; Ed­i­to­rial Page Ed­i­tor Kevin S. Wal­ter; and ed­i­to­rial writ­ers Dawn Marie Bracely and Greg Con­nors.

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