Hotel Maryland

You can check in, but you can’t check out.

Netflix’ show, House of Cards, is about cut-throat politics at its worst, it’s hugely successful, and it’s filmed in Maryland.  And therein lies the rub.

The show’s producers, Media Rights Capital, now want a larger set of tax credits, given that success.  If they can’t get an increase, MRC says it’ll move its filming location to another state where it can get a better deal for its proven product.  Fair enough.  The filming produces income for the state’s economy and for the state, even with the current credit structure, and that success is expected to continue.

The state demurs.  That government wants to keep the credit levels where they are.  Also fair enough.  Those credits are their cost (regardless of what we might think about whose money those credits really is), and the state would like to minimize the cost of its own business-doing.

Such matters should be the stuff of negotiation between the two parties, and if they can’t agree on terms, the two parties should be able simple to part ways.

But the State of Maryland now has gone off the rails.

The House of Delegates now is threatening to seize MRC’s production studios under government’s eminent domain powers if they attempt to go somewhere else.  Never mind that there’s no public use—or even public purpose—to such a seizure; the taking would be nothing more than government-sanctioned theft of private property.

Folks might want to think twice about moving a business to Maryland, or keeping one there.  It’s a short step to a neighboring state, none of which seems inclined to keep businesses prisoner.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door.
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before.
“Relax,” said the Delegate,
“We are programmed to receive.
“You can check out any time you like,
“But you can never leave.”


With apologies to the Eagles.

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