I have to agree that the report describes circumstances under the program that were almost certainly not in the state's best interests. Ultimately, I think the report supports my suggestion that more careful planning and operation is critical for a successful program. My reading of the report is that a lot of smart Hollywood people figured out ways to mostly stay within the letter of the law while maximizing their tax credits using strategies that the State of Iowa never anticipated.
And I think that's the key. I think Darlene wants to hold Hollywood accountable, but most everything I read in that report could probably have been anticipated and prevented with more careful planning and drafting of the law. I don't want to sound like a typical L.A. entertainment lawyer (or at least like the popular misconception that we are a bunch of arrogant sharks), but if the Iowa regulators understood the Hollywood movie-making culture, they would know that every effort would be made by producers to squeeze the maximum dollars out of the law as it was written. They could have hired any number of consultants that would likely have anticipated every maneuver, and then they could have crafted the law to prevent most of the alleged abuses.
You can't blame a producer for chasing dollars any more than you can blame a lion for eating an antelope. It's what they do. Some people may not like the way they do it, but it is naive to think that they would leave any money on the table. That's not consistent with the prevailing culture of Hollywood film making.
As far as the governor's reaction, even after reading the audit report, I think I would have been much quieter and less dramatic in my response. Clearly some things weren't working. So, they could slow down the application process, get some better regulations written, quietly replace a few people and continue the program. I think that the starting and stopping is potentially much more damaging to their perceived desire to build a film industry than any over-payments. They should just take what they've learned, correct their course and keep going.
Ok, that's all from me on this topic. I think it is probably more interesting to me than to most of you. I'll look for something a bit less dry for my next post.