Hollywood Handouts Before Teachers And Taxpayers

Pop quiz: who do Texas’ lawmakers value more, liberal Hollywood movie-makers or retired teachers and taxpayers? We found out on the floor of the House during Thursday’s budget debate.

In a 108-37 vote, the Texas House rejected efforts to transfer money from Hollywood subsidy dollars — the “Film and Music Marketing” program — into the Texas Teachers Retirement System. You see, the teachers’ pension plan has an actuarial problem: it’s got a $24 billion hole that taxpayers are going to have to eventually fill.

So on the House floor, lawmakers had a chance to help taxpayers and teachers by cutting the corporate welfare to Hollywood. They chose Hollywood.

Republicans lined up to defend the wasteful spending, making spurious claims of “investment.” Some even made the nonsensical claim that all film, music, TV and video game activity in the state is the result of government spending! And these were Republicans making the case. Proving, of course, that cronyism is bipartisan.

Of course, the Wall Street Journal has found that film subsidies are a big-time loser for taxpayers.

Worse are the kinds of flicks self-described conservatives think you should be funding instead of fixing the broken pension.


One of the films Texas tax dollars have subsidized.
According to comments made on the House floor, one eye-catcher is Bad Kids Go To Hell, described by IMDB.com as the “Breakfast Club meets The Grudge in this sexy, dark comedy-thriller!”

Hadn’t seen it? It’s rated “R for violence, language, sexual content and some drug use.”

But, somehow, that seems like an appropriate film for politicians to fund with tax dollars…

Now, it might not be that these state reps listed below prefer Hollywood over teachers and taxpayers. Maybe your state representative is joining with the Democrats and Republican moderates in simply voting against reforms presented by the conservative, reform-minded freshmen for internal partisan games…

But that’s not much better.

So who voted for Hollywood over teachers and taxpayers? According to the House Journal’s unofficial tally:

Republicans: Anderson; Ashby; Aycock; Branch; Burkett; Callegari; Clardy; Cook; Craddick; Crownover; Darby; Davis, J.; Davis, S.; Farney; Frullo; Geren; Gonzales; Harless; Harper-Brown; Hilderbran; Huberty; Hunter; Kacal; Keffer; King, K.; King, P.; King, S.; Kolkhorst; Kuempel; Larson; Lavender; Lewis; Miller, D.; Morrison; Murphy; Orr; Otto; Paddie; Patrick; Phillips; Pitts; Price; Raney; Ratliff; Riddle; Ritter; Sheffield, J.; Sheffield, R.; Smith; Stephenson; Villalba; Workman; Zerwas
Democrats: Allen; Alonzo; Alvarado; Anchia; Burnam; Canales; Cortez; Coleman; Collier; Davis, Y.; Deshotel; Dukes; Dutton; Eiland; Farias; Farrar; Giddings; González, M.; Gonzalez, N.; Guerra; Gutierrez; Hernandez Luna; Herrero; Howard; Johnson; King, T.; Longoria; Lozano; Lucio; Márquez; Martinez; Martinez Fischer; McClendon; Menéndez; Miles; Moody; Muñoz; Naishtat; Nevárez; Oliveira; Perez; Pickett; Raymond; Reynolds; Rodriguez, E.; Rodriguez, J.; Rose; Strama; Thompson, S.; Turner, C.; Turner, S.; Villarreal; Vo; Walle; Wu

And those who voted correctly AGAINST Hollywood handouts:
Republicans: Bell; Bohac; Bonnen, G.; Capriglione; Carter; Creighton; Dale; Elkins; Fallon; Fletcher; Flynn; Frank; Goldman; Hughes; Isaac; Kleinschmidt; Klick; Krause; Laubenberg; Leach; Miller, R.; Parker; Perry; Sanford; Schaefer; Sheets; Simmons; Simpson; Smithee; Springer; Stickland; Taylor; Thompson, E.; Toth; Turner, Scott; White; Zedler

(We’ll update this list when the official Journal is posted.)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans, and its premier project, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capital Hill staffer, think tank vice president and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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