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Old 05-20-2013, 05:46 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by bbundy View Post
Works until the average person cannot live an average life without a hand full of private equity plutocrats profiting and compounding wealth from nothing other than the common folk going on with their daily life. Why should somebody doing nothing more than skimming profits off of businesses by leveraging capital pay half the tax on that income that somebody working for their income pays?
Hi... I work with private equity funds everyday, all day. You don't have a clue as to what you're talking about

The private equity industry is arranged into funds that pool the capital of investors (limited partners) with the goal of deploying that capital into attractive markets, obtaining and growing sound investments, and then exiting those investments and returning capital (hopefully more of it) to the investors.

Sounds pretty evil so far, so let's keep going.

Usually, a fund is run by a team that is consolidated into a single company that owns the general partner (GP) interest of the fund. The GP spends a significant amount of time raising money before the formation of the fund. During this time, the team is not paid...because there is no one to pay them. Once the capital is raised, the GP is tasked with finding attractive investments (generally small or medium sized companies) and deploying the capital committed by the limited partners. Once those investments are purchased, the GP's job is to identify growth opportunities, add-on acquisitions, and bring new customers to the company to increase revenue. Many teams are relatively small, and private equity employees tend to work extremely long hours travelling all over the country doing diligence and background work. They probably turn down 100 deals for every investment they make. Each deal requires thousands of hours of diligence whether it is completed or not.

Those damn fat cat, scumbag, lazy, profiteering, bastards... let's continue.

So how does the GP get paid? It gets a portion of any gains that are made on investments when they are sold. How much? Generally, the limited partners are "guaranteed" a 2-6% return on their deployed money each year. If the investment doesn't make that much money (consider that 6% x 4-5 years is a sizeable increase), the GP gets nothing...for years of work. If the investment return exceeds that hurdle, then the GP and the limited partners share in the upside beyond the hurdle (usually with the GP receiving something like 25% of each dollar beyond the hurdle). Is it possible for the GP team to make serious money? Yes...absolutely. Is this just profiteering upon the backs of the common folk? No, don't be a dumbass.

Private equity generally gets a bad reputation from three sources: (1) Former owners who are now tasked with working with/for extremely aggressive GPs, (2) the fact that GPs specialize in streamlining companies, finding efficiencies, and trimming the fat (which means the fat gets laid off), and (3) leftist loons who see any capitalistic or lucrative indeavor as being inherently evil and detrimental to society. Which are you?

If you have a problem with those things...well, sorry I'm not sorry. But the private equity industry is a TREMENDOUSLY accretive capital market that provides immense benefit to the US and global economy.

Last edited by Fathom55; 05-20-2013 at 08:14 PM. Reason: Less Yoda sentence structuring
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:56 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Come on; don't be that guy. We're having a discussion. You can present a cogent (or ridiculous) point and cite a source, or link to an article relevant to a point you are making, but don't just say "Washington state has problems; google it."




So the major problem that Washington state is having is that their state tax system is regressive and that is unfair? That is pretty much all I got out of that article.
  • Is this negatively affecting Washington state's economic growth?
  • Is there higher than normal unemployment in WA?
  • Has this manifested in greater income disparity in WA vs somewhere that has highly progressive state taxes (and is seeing negative AGI flows according to the site in the OP), like CA?

Don't tell me to google it unless you've googled it yourself and know the answers, because you are the one that made a point of Washington state having a "host of problems" that are presumably tied to the lack of a state income tax.
Sorry for the delay in response, I actually forgot about this thread.

I was being That Guy for a reason, Scrappy. Many, many people far more eloquent and educated than I am about the problems in WA's taxation have written very well written material on this.

I can try if you insist, but it will have to come when I'm not absolutely swamped with schoolwork. Which, tbh, won't be until either August or the middle of June since I'd have to look up and cite certain studies.

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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
Sales tax is not regressive in the least, so long as the sales tax is pretty much the same. Also, if there is an exemption for foodstuffs (no sales tax on food items) then your sales tax is actually progressive, as someone who spends 10% of their income on food is going to pay a far lower % of their income on sales tax than someone who spends 0.1% of their income on food - the other 99.9% of their income is spent on things which are taxed. Someone who makes 100x as much money isn't going to consume 100x as much food.

The severely regressive part though is property taxes. If there is no income tax but a higher sales and higher property tax to offset that fact, then, while the sales tax is slightly progressive, its the property tax which is significantly regressive. The reason behind this is: Someone who makes 100x more isn't going to live in 100x more house. Chances are, someone who makes 30k/year is going to live in a $100k house, and someone who makes 3 million/year is going to live in a house closer to $1-2 million. While my numbers aren't based on any evidence, it is a logical argument. The person making 100x as much (in this case 3 million/year) is living in a house that is valued at about 20x as much. If both homes were taxed at the same rate (lets say 3%/year), then the multi-millionaire is paying 2% of his income to property taxes, while the middle class guy is paying 6.67% of his income to property taxes.

While the tax system as a whole might be regressive, sales taxes are generally anything but regressive, unless there are tax breaks on "luxury" items...

It's the guys making billions of dollars per year that are paying 1/8th as much tax as the "middle class" - they live in homes that they could afford on one week's salary. profit.
Foogy, look.

Of all the states that have implemented sales taxes, not a single one is progressive. Not a single one is neutral.

Every sales tax, in every state is regressive. Without a single exception to the best of my knowledge.

WA has the most regressive taxes in the US. Our property taxes are not even a primary contributor - it's our sales taxes.

The lowest income bracket in WA pays about 17% of their income in taxes - but 13% of this is solely sales tax. Not property tax. Not excise tax. Sales tax.

The highest income bracket (Which is NOT billionaires, but merely people making mid-six figures and up) in WA pays about 3% in taxes - but 1.9% of this is solely sales tax. (Note these numbers. Property taxes and excise taxes are less regressive than a sales tax!)

No national sales tax will change the inherent raw facts of the matter unless their implementation is fundamentally different from any sales tax a state has ever tried (Which, of all the national sales tax proposals I have read, there is not a single one that is fundamentally different. Including the so-called "Fair Tax"). These are the raw, hard facts of how sales taxes work. This applies to every state in the US that has implemented a sales tax.

All of the national sales tax proposals have tried desperately to pretend they are "fair" - but they base their numbers on physical impossibility. If you compare their numbers to real numbers we have from all of the sales tax implementations we have across various states, you realize how far away what they claim is from reality.

Last edited by blaen99; 05-24-2013 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:08 AM   #23
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You're misunderstanding the definition of money.

Money has no useful purpose. Until money is used to buy something, it is effectively useless.

I could be earning billions of dollars, but if I'm only spending millions of dollars, then yes, my tax rate on income is nearly wiped out. But what am I getting in return for my wiped out tax rate?

If I am only spending 1/1000th of my income, then where the hell do the other 999/1000ths go?

They don't go anywhere. They are simply money. They are nothing more than numbers in a banking system somewhere.

When you work for a living, you don't earn "money" - you earn the social right to take food from supermarkets. You earn the social right to take a car from a dealership. In exchange for the food or the car, you give up some of your social right so that the person giving up the food or the car can use your social right to take something for themselves. Money is simply a way of measuring your "social right" to take something. Money cannot sustain your life. You can't drive money to the store. A civilization which has nothing but money is quite literally useless.

So what about those mean nasty multi-billionaires who aren't paying any taxes? Well, I can only see one option for this: They aren't buying anything.

The only way to not pay taxes in a place of universal sales tax is to not buy anything. This means that your evil billionaire, instead of buying a car like a good taxpaying citizen, is avoiding paying taxes by driving around his stack of $100 bills. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy hamburgers, his body has found a way to sustain life on cotton paper and magnetic ink. Instead of watching the mariners play the padres on his 100" plasma TV, he is surely watching the grants play the franklins on his 100" stack of bills.

That evil bastard.

There's a problem in your argument: You didn't actually present an argument. You simply told me "Billionaires pay almost nothing, while middle/lower class people pay everything!!! Boo Hoo!!" What you did not do is present me with an economically sound argument on WHY billionaires might pay almost nothing and thousandaires pay 12% of their income on sales tax.

One half-valid argument you might have given me: "Billionaires spend their money out of state."

You see, this has some semblance of making sense, though you would have to change your argument from "Middle class: 12%, 1%ers: 3%" to "MC: 12%, 1%ers: 3% in the state of Washington"

When the local 1%er bought his personal fleet of Bugatti Veyrons in Nevada (Before guiness stripped the Veyron of it's title of "fastest production car") He might not have paid sales tax to Washington (Pending local laws), but you can be damn sure he paid sales tax above and beyond his quota of 3% to somebody.

Another, more valid argument to give me would be this: "Those dirty billionaires spend their money out of the country".

Indeed, this is a more valid argument, as there is generally no sales tax on international purchases...yet. (And it had better stay that way too.) But how much money can your multi-billionaire really spend out of the country?

Well, lets see here: Travel to international destinations? Generally, when he's staying in the Presidential Suite at the InterContinental ($13,715 / night) He is still buying something from one country while still being in that country. Sales tax still applies.

To avoid the sales tax, he must buy something from one country and have it sent to an address in another country. For your red-blooded American billionaire, this might be limited to Art, jewelry, or (in only very special circumstances because of strict and arguably illegitimate law enforcement) high end cars...Don't also forget the complusory Benetti.

The superbillionaire might be a philantropist (a much larger portion of high-income earners are, as they have achieved the top of maslow's hierarchy known as "self-actualization".) Philantropy (sp?) then is one way of reducing the amount of taxes they pay as a portion of their income, but the organization they give to then turns around and spends that money. This organization either pays sales tax on the billionaires earnings, or else this organization is a non-profit organization, essentially giving that money away. Considering that the government simply redistributes most of our tax dollars to the "needy" anyways, isn't philantropy nothing more than a self-imposed tax? How much of their income do top philantropists give away? How much of YOUR income do YOU give away voluntarily? Not only is philantroby a self-imposed tax, but it also reduces the real tax burden on the philantropist. Your billionaire has given away $30 million of his own money, but now he has $30 million less of which he actually has the ability to buy stuff and pay taxes on. It's like a double whammy, reducing effective tax-to-income ratio (which you mistake as a lower tax rate in your numbers) while also creating a self-imposed tax (which you don't see. EVER.)

EVER!!

Focusing on the rate of tax as a percentage of income is one of the most backwards and retarded systems of taxation ever devised. The people and government have recognized this and try to remedy the system with fixes here and there. You incorrectly have been taught that these fixes are called "loopholes". The intent of your "loopholes" is to repair the broken tax system so that taxes are no longer based on the "money" you earn, but rather on the "things" that you earn. Things have value, experiences have value, time has value, convenience has value, money does not. Money is merely a measure of "social right". It is a way of measuring how much value you have provided to society, and it is a method of distribution of that value. Until someone actually exchanges that value for things, experiences, time, convenience, or any other valued commodity that you can exchange money for, it is effectively useless, and its measure is not something worthy of your envy.

What economically sound reason can you provide me as to why multi-billionaires might be taxed so low while the layman might be taxed so high?
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:27 AM   #24
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That was a very good read. Props. I have been trying to explain this concept of money to some people around me for a long time but I could not really express it like this. My purposes were for a non political reason and unrelated to taxation but it is still applicable. Well said sir.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:59 AM   #25
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I am impressed, Fooger. The only possible response to it is covered in this...


You've completely dodged my entire post, and managed to post some blather about social rights which has absolutely no place in an argument about sales tax being regressive.

Quote:
What economically sound reason can you provide me as to why multi-billionaires might be taxed so low while the layman might be taxed so high?
You are seriously confused here, Fooger. I have posted a substantial amount of information proving that sales taxes are regressive - I don't need to provide a reason or otherwise speculate in any way, shape, or form since the sole purpose was to disprove your original post where you tried to claim sales taxes WERE NOT regressive.

The ball is in your court to prove that sales taxes are not regressive* (like you originally claimed. And please, don't make me badly explain tax rate, then have Scrappy come in and kick my *** because you try to put your fingers in your ears since you are trying to redefine the meaning completely). Now what you are claiming is completely different from what you originally posted, which I'll quote to remind you:

Quote:
Sales tax is not regressive in the least, so long as the sales tax is pretty much the same. Also, if there is an exemption for foodstuffs (no sales tax on food items) then your sales tax is actually progressive, as someone who spends 10% of their income on food is going to pay a far lower % of their income on sales tax than someone who spends 0.1% of their income on food - the other 99.9% of their income is spent on things which are taxed. Someone who makes 100x as much money isn't going to consume 100x as much food.

The severely regressive part though is property taxes. If there is no income tax but a higher sales and higher property tax to offset that fact, then, while the sales tax is slightly progressive, its the property tax which is significantly regressive. The reason behind this is: Someone who makes 100x more isn't going to live in 100x more house. Chances are, someone who makes 30k/year is going to live in a $100k house, and someone who makes 3 million/year is going to live in a house closer to $1-2 million. While my numbers aren't based on any evidence, it is a logical argument. The person making 100x as much (in this case 3 million/year) is living in a house that is valued at about 20x as much. If both homes were taxed at the same rate (lets say 3%/year), then the multi-millionaire is paying 2% of his income to property taxes, while the middle class guy is paying 6.67% of his income to property taxes.

While the tax system as a whole might be regressive, sales taxes are generally anything but regressive, unless there are tax breaks on "luxury" items...

It's the guys making billions of dollars per year that are paying 1/8th as much tax as the "middle class" - they live in homes that they could afford on one week's salary. profit.
Or are you completely abandoning everything in your previous post (WA has no sales tax on food items and is the most regressively taxed state in the US, people that are only upper middle class [6 digits, NOT billionaires] are paying a substantially smaller tax rate than the poorest, property taxes and excise taxes are *less* regressive than sales taxes), as I used hard evidence from WA to completely disprove all of your points?

*
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases.[2][3][4][5][6] "Regressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from high to low, where the average tax rate exceeds the marginal tax rate.[7][8] In terms of individual income and wealth, a regressive tax imposes a greater burden (relative to resources) on the poor than on the rich — there is an inverse relationship between the tax rate and the taxpayer's ability to pay as measured by assets, consumption, or income.

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Old 05-24-2013, 12:15 PM   #26
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The only way I have ever seen a sales tax proposal presented as a non-regressive tax was when it was suggested that you give lower income brackets a monthly or yearly credit to offset a certain amount of purchases considered the base necessity to live. This would then make it so that a low income tax payer basically makes tax free purchases up to a certain threshold before the taxes would come out of their pocket.

This would be implemented in a similar way to food stamps or direct deposit. The credit you receive would be determined yearly by your reported income level.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:19 PM   #27
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This is ridiculous. Sales tax is not regressive or progressive. "Regression and progression", as they apply to economics and finance, are emotional concepts.

Sales tax is a tax on consumption. You know how the vast majority of the extremely wealthy became extremely wealthy? They spent less than they earned over a long horizon.

The American society is not good at spending less than it earns. Want to distort your regression argument? Consider how many people in the "low income" bracket spent more than they earned... and were accordingly met with sales taxes on consumption beyond their annual income.

So you have people who are consuming less than they earn and people who are consuming more than they earn, and now you're trying to compare the consumption taxes that each pays as a percentage of income to provide some sort of half-assed validity to your argument that "the system" is unjust? Please...
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #28
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You guys are being silly and not even arguing properly.

Sales taxation is absolutely regressive, as that term is used when discussing taxation.

State and Federal income taxation is absolutely progressive, as that term is used when discussing taxation.

That really shouldn't be a topic of debate.


What you should be debating in this thread is whether or not those are good or bad things and whether or not they have anything to do with economic prosperity in various states.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:44 PM   #29
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Agree with the "progressive" portion of your statement. Disagree that sales taxes must be regressive. Dollars paid in tax on consumption can be modified by an inidividual by consuming more or less. There's nothing that says the wealthy can't consume at the same percentage of their income as the non-wealthy. They just traditionally don't.

But to your point, when you boil it all out, you are correct. The real question is good or bad?
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:44 PM   #30
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Just remember that it's unfair to have more money that someone else.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:49 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Worthless whining drivel
Still no economically sound argument which might substantiate your claims?

I'm an open mind, but you're going to have to give me intelligent arguments based on micro/macroeconomic theory instead of quoting underinformed news articles.

Let's try an exercise here:
Dude A buys 3 items taxed at 15% in a universal "no exceptions" sales-tax system:
A laptop
A pair of flip flops
A set of car tires

Dude B buys 3 items also taxed at 15% in a universal "no exceptions" sales-tax system:
A personal Hondajet
Equipment for a small private television studio
A used rollercoaster for his backyard

Which pays more tax as a percentage of their expenditures?

If you are convinced that either pays more tax % than the other, then consider enrolling in some math courses at your local middle school.

Lets step away from our "no exceptions" tax system and come back into reality for a minute:

Person A makes $35,000 / year
Person B makes $750,000 / year

Which person pays nearly 40% of their marginal income as federal income taxes thereby giving them 40% less to spend in order to buy things which allow them to pay state sales tax in the first place?

Which person is more likely to put 30% of their income into savings accounts?

If you account for only the difference in marginal federal income tax rate(40-15%=25%) and likely savings (30% - 0% = 30%) You are only spending 45% as much of your actual income. That simple figure alone means that person ISN'T EVEN CAPABLE of being taxed half as much as person A based on income if he TRIED.

Which person is more likely to send his 2.5 children to private out-of-state college at the cost of $500,000 a piece on non-taxable expenditures?

Which person is more likely to make large tax-free, tax-deferred, or depreciating capital investments with the income from their LLP in order to leverage current capital availability for future profit potential?

By definition, the tax system is "regressive" if the rich person's millionth thingamajig is taxed at a lower rate than the poor person's first thingamajig. In a flat tax system, it is not.

Thanks for playing, have a nice day!
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #32
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Fooger - You are having a different argument. Maybe multiple different arguments.

In common parlance, when used in description of taxation, "regressive" or "progressive" refers to taxation as a percentage of income. Not expenditure.

Assume there is some minimum basket of goods and costs, including basic food, transportation, clothing, etc. necessary to support a very bare, working lifestyle. Not entertainment, travel, or savings. Assume this basic basket of goods and services costs $12k per year and the sales tax rate is 5% for an annualized tax amount of $600.

If Person A earns $20k, that $600 in sales tax is 3% of their income.

If Person B earns $100k, that $600 in sales tax is 0.60% of their income.

Person A (the one with the lower income) pays more, as a percentage of their income, than Person B. Ergo, the sales tax is regressive.

Meanwhile, Person B pays 25-28% marginal Federal income tax while Person A pays 10%. Therefore, the marginal Federal income tax is progressive.


Again, you can debate whether that is good, bad, or neither but it seems silly to argue that it is not the case. What you are doing is arguing that the sky is not, in fact, blue. If by "blue," you mean "a particular shade of vermillion."
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:42 AM   #33
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I was just going off of Fooger's original post, and I really have no idea wtf he is arguing at this point.

As Scrappy said, "regressive taxation" has a very specific meaning. Sales tax is trivial to prove that it is regressive in any implementation we've ever had in the US - I'm not disputing a fundamentally different implementation of the sales tax (Note: A prebate is NOT fundamentally different, it merely shifts the point where regression begins) could be progressive or neutral, I'm merely stating that any sales tax that I am aware of has always been provably regressive in the US - and most are severely regressive, See: WA being the most regressively taxed state in the US due to our primary reliance on sales tax.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:32 PM   #34
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The weeds... we have found the weeds of this conversation and decided be amongst them.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:06 PM   #35
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Bringing this back to the original topic of state taxation and flow of AGI...

“The idea that people are really going to move their companies to Nevada because of taxes is nonsense,” Paul Saffo, a longtime technology analyst based in Northern California, told me. “Silicon Valley has always been a high-cost place to operate and, like the state, has always been in danger of drowning in the products of its own success.”
[A Californian] told me about a Look magazine cover story from the mid-1960s, which after the Watts riots in Los Angeles and Free Speech Movement upheaval at Berkeley declared California a “failed state.” Since that time Look magazine has disappeared, California’s population has doubled, and its economy has grown larger than those of Brazil and Spain.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:15 PM   #36
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I know the Governor of Cali just recently claimed that the state should have a $1.2 Billion surplus for 2013 because of the new tax hike that was approved by voters. Of course this is all based projections of what they believe will happen. The LAO also released their own report claiming that Cali will end up with a $1.9 Billion deficit using the same data but altering their assumptions. LAO has a better track record of accurate projections and is supposedly not partisan. Take that for what you will.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:38 PM   #37
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Meanwhile...
Hollywood Loses Blockbusters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloomberg article
May 28 (Bloomberg) -– Hollywood is struggling to hang on to its blockbuster movies as states such as North Carolina and countries like Canada offer subsidies for producers to shoot films far from the traditional studios of Los Angeles.

This summer marks an acceleration of the trend, with 11 of the 12 action films projected to gross more than $100 million shot somewhere other than southern California.
I don't know how much of a net impact that is, though, as the areas that are drawing the film production are having to pay significant subsidies to do so. For example...

Quote:
Disney, based in Burbank, California, received $20 million from North Carolina for filming “Iron Man 3,” according to a study by the Motion Picture Association of America. The company qualified for the rebate because it spent $88.4 million there making the May 3 release, including salaries for talent.
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