Quick, before they change their minds! It didn’t seem to work out over laws promoting increased pro-life protections. But maybe this time Hollywood will be serious and take Louisiana taxpayers off the hook … and you can help!
In 2019, Louisiana and other states passed such laws, although not all survived Supreme Court scrutiny of the recent past. Hollywood grumbled about boycotting such states, with Georgia and Louisiana being the two most generous in passing out subsidies to film and television producers, but nothing really came of it.
Almost two years have passed and the same threats have reappeared, this time over Georgia’s changes to strengthen ballot integrity. A handful of industry movers and shakers said they didn’t plan on producing there, but now one who actually had planned on doing so has pulled the plug, citing the new law.
We only can hope Louisiana will turn out to be so fortunate. The state’s Motion Picture Production Tax Credit has lost well over a billion dollars in its nearly two decades, with the most optimistic annual return on investment well under fifty cents on the dollar. By law, it can churn out as much as $150 million a year in subsidies, although two bills in front of the Legislature seek to curtail that. SB 173 by Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt would end the program by 2025 and payouts by 2031, while HB 36 by Republican state Rep. Phillip DeVillier merely would cut the cap in half in perpetuity.
Georgia’s new law doesn’t make it an extreme outlier by any means in terms of restrictions nor does it significantly attenuate the possibility of voting, if at all or even might increase access. In fact, as a comparison of features shows, along those criteria the pair comes out about the same:
- The Georgia law permits no excuse absentee voting, as in two-thirds of states. But Louisiana isn’t one of them, as an excuse, as undemanding as they may be, must be proffered.
- Georgia now says an absentee ballot request must come in at least 11 days prior to an election. Louisiana’s is just four, and unlike Georgia this can come through the Internet.
- Louisiana allows third-party delivery of an absentee ballot by a family member. Georgia does as well, but limited only for voters with physical disabilities.
- Verifying such ballots in Louisiana, as in the majority of states, requires only a signature match with registration records. Georgia now, along with a few other states, requires a match with part of an identification number as well (a state identification card in Georgia is free).
- Unlike most states, Louisiana included, Georgia allows dropping off ballots to sites other than registrars’ offices. And while Louisiana provides only seven days of early voting, the new law lets Georgia counties establish a 17- to 19-day window for that purpose.
- The new Georgia law specifically prohibits passing out food and drink by non-elections officials. Louisiana law has no such restriction, but it does have an anti-loitering statute that likely would apply to the same activity.
- As in Georgia, a provisional ballot cast because the voter went to the wrong precinct might count depending on the circumstances in Louisiana. But that applies only for federal races; in others in Louisiana that voter is out of luck.
In short, in the aggregate, Georgia’s ballot security measures don’t surpass Louisiana’s. Yet we don’t observe any campaign at all to boycott Louisiana business, much less from Hollywood elites.
Some might call that difference in reaction political opportunism that creates hypocrisy. But, let’s me more charitable. Maybe they just don’t know about Louisiana’s election laws. Maybe somebody ought to tell them.
This post is my contribution to that effort. Readers, it’s your turn. Tag your favorite Hollywood personalities on social media and spread the word. Tell them Louisiana law cares as much about ballot integrity as does Georgia’s. Horrify them with this news, and recommend that they keep away their productions that would get their snouts into our trough of tax dollars. (In fact, the guys that bailed on Georgia are talking about coming here! Stop them!) And let’s see how much money we save state taxpayers.