It is with great distress that I read about Governor Charlie Baker’s plan to eliminate film industry tax incentives in Massachusetts. It is a policy that is based on an illogical (to quote a famous movie star from Massachusetts) notion that removing the incentive will only affect the wealthy members of the film industry. It is a fact that states that do not give tax incentives to the film industry have no film industry presence. Therefore, a plan to eliminate the incentive does not take into account the many people who depend of the film industry for their livelihood — people who are not wealthy and are tax-paying citizens of the Commonwealth. Concomitantly, it is a misguided notion that taking away job opportunities for one group of citizens is the most beneficial way to fund the Earned Income Tax Credit program. Would it not be in the best interest of all citizens to find a win-win situation rather than a win-lose?
Why do I care? I am the founder and president of Project Home Again, a nonprofit based in Lawrence, MA. Our mission is to provide low-income families with new and gently used furniture, household goods, and appliances so they can live with comfort and dignity. Are you again asking yourself why I care about the film industry remaining in Massachusetts? It is because since being discovered by members of the film industry, Project Home Again has been the recipient of donations from many sets of movies and commercials filmed in the Bay State.
To put this is terms of human compassion, a domestic abuse survivor who had to flee her abusive husband in the middle of the night with her children and literally the pajamas on their backs, is now living in an apartment furnished entirely with furniture and household goods used on the set of the HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge. It means that hundreds of families received toiletries they could not afford because of goods we received from a “drugstore” set. It means that a family, transitioning from living in a shelter, was able to move into an apartment and furnish their child’s bedroom with the contents of another set. Hundreds of families have benefited from the generous donations of furniture and goods from the film industry. In addition, because we sometimes receive interesting donations, we have been able to rent out some of our goods to the movie industry. We use the funds we receive to purchase new twin mattress sets for children in need. To date, we have been able to purchase fourteen beds, which means without the film industry’s presence, fourteen children would still be sleeping on a cold, hard floor tonight.
These are but a few examples of what the film industry has meant to Project Home Again. It has touched the lives of hundreds of Massachusetts’ families for the better — changing their lives and helping them to live with the comfort and dignity they deserve. I urge you to speak out against this proposed tax break elimination. Speaking for those in Massachusetts who have difficulty speaking for themselves, please do not hurt the most impoverished segment of our society out of a desire to seek political gain.