Friday, April 08, 2005

They just don't get it

Mayor Nagin announced today his plans for New Orleans for the Legislative session. Some are applaudable, such as tax incentives for "video game makers, a rubber manufacturing plant and more medical research;" however, other ideas just prove that Nagin and others are more interested in how things look rather than reality.

Nagin has proposed a light rail system from the airport to downtown! Why waste the money? We don't have the tourist base that they are obviously under the illusion that we have. Having moved from Orlando last year, I can definitely see the difference between a flourishing tourist economy and that of New Orleans. If not built for tourists, then who do they think will use it? The locals? Are there enough locals going from downtown to the airport to make this an efficient use of money that New Orleans is constantly complaining that it doesn't have?

Nagin also wants to give tax breaks for the motion picture industry who use local musicians or local music in their productions. The movie industry is the worst industry to court and both Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco are guilty of it. While living in Orlando, I saw first hand how the movie industry will usually only go "on location" when it is mo$t advantageous for them. Orlando had to actually pay production crews to come and film there. For a while, they, too, wanted to be "Hollywood South" until they realized the cost to the city far exceeded any revenue to be gained.

Louisiana is now the sucker du jour for the movie industry. Production crews usually bring in their own people, with the exception of the lower paying jobs like production assistants (gophers). Oh, and don't forget about the paid scenery, I mean extras. But even if they do hire locals such as teamsters and lighting crews, these are SHORT-TERM jobs. They provide no stable industry. They are literally here today and gone tomorrow.

Do I think we should have no movie industry here? No. I'm sure there are many people in New Orleans and Louisiana who rely on incoming production for their livlihoods; however, I think it the utmost stupidity for state and local leaders to tout the movie industry as a great economical boom for the state. We need to attract industry that will give Louisiana and New Orleans steady and reliable revenue.