News Column

'Duck Dynasty' welfare? A&E show gets $6.2M from taxpayers: report

July 3, 2014

By John Luciew, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.



July 03--They really like "Duck Dynasty" down in Louisiana. So much show, the state is forking over some $6.2 million in taxpayer money by subsidizing the producers and stars with a state program to attract film and TV productions. All this, according to the Louisiana Budget Project, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit.

Our sister website, NOLA.com in New Orleans, wrote that the policy group's analysis estimates the hit reality television series on A&E qualified for over $6 million worth of government payouts for just the first three seasons of the show's run.

"Duck Dynasty" has filmed six seasons of episodes, which means the government liability is probably higher than originally estimated. But additional information about salary and production costs for the more recent seasons isn't available yet, so it is difficult to come up with a full estimate, according to the nonprofit.

More from NOLA.com:

In Louisiana, the government gives tax credits that cover both production costs and actors salaries for films and television shows made here, NOLA.com wrote. Louisiana waivers 30 percent of the money producers spend while shooting a film or television production in the Bayou state. Thirty-five percent of local actors or on-air talent's salaries are also compensated.

Though the benefits are technically given through a tax credit, film and television companies receive them regardless of whether they pay any taxes in Louisiana, NOLA.com pointed out. This means the tax credits easily turn into a direct cash benefit for most out-of-state production companies.

However, Duck Dynasty's stars -- the well-known Robertson family -- live and run a family business in Louisiana, which means they are more likely to pay taxes in the state than other actors and producers who come to work in the state from elsewhere. "Duck Dynasty" has also generated something of a cottage tourism industry in West Monroe, where the show takes place, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne told NOLA.com

All told, "Duck Dynasty" will be subsidized by Louisiana to the tune of $38,433 per episode in season one, $107,328 in season two and $328,521 in season three, according to the Louisiana Budget Project.

So should the popular and successful show get that kind of taxpayer support?

Tell us.

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(c)2014 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

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Source: Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA)


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