It seems our state’s most recent hot button duel is over the effect of Georgia’s very popular film tax credits.

365体育世界杯There is no doubt the tax credit has enabled the Peach State to become Hollywood of the East Coast, from Tyler Perry’s studios just south of Atlanta to the number of movies that have been filmed in Savanah and along the coast. 

Just recently, Thomasville and southwest Georgia were the locales for two movies in production, “The Tiger Rising” and “Quiet in My Town.”

365体育世界杯Their effect on the area was substantial. Crews lived in local hotels, ate in local restaurants, shopped at local stores. They also rented cars — by the fleet. 

But a state audit released earlier this month said the film tax credit’s benefit was far less than what the supporters of the measure and the state’s own economic development arm had been boasting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

So late Wednesday came word of another study, carried out by Georgia Tech says the film and movie industry’s spending in Georgia is “significantly higher” than previously reported, the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition. The film tax credit has meant more than $3 billion in spending a year in the state, the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition announced, leading to “tens of thousands of Georgians in high-paying jobs.’

Somewhere in all this is the film tax credit’s actual benefit. In a time when state agencies are being asked to look at what can be budget from those budgets, perhaps it is also time for the state — or perhaps an outside, independent set of eyes — to look at how much the state’s many tax credits and tax breaks really help the state. 

365体育世界杯The film tax credit certainly has helped the state become a prime location for TV and movie production. The state lists 29 television shows or films currently underway in the state. 

365体育世界杯According to the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition, Georgia has gone from one studio in 2008 before the tax credit went into effect to 75 sound stages and a dozen studios. There were 399 productions in the state last fiscal year, the Coalition declared, leading to 92,500 jobs and $5.2 billion in wages. The average annual salary for workers on a set is $85,000.

365体育世界杯Yet as the old saying goes there are three kinds of lies — lies, damn lies and statistics. It’s time for an independent look at just how much action our state is getting from the lights and cameras and if it’s worth it to the taxpayers.