“House of Cards” fight with city of Baltimore pretty much an episode of “House of Cards” now

posted at 9:51 pm on March 27, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

No one’s been offed. Yet.

You’ll remember “House of Cards,” the popular Netflix series of dramatized dirty politics threatened in February to leave the state of Maryland, where it films, if the government didn’t cough up the tax credits to which the show had become accustomed. Now, Baltimore says if the production leaves the state, the state will just confiscate its property. Because this is what eminent domain is for:

Responding to a threat that the “House of Cards” television series may leave Maryland if it doesn’t get more tax credits, the House of Delegates adopted budget language Thursday requiring the state to seize the production company’s property if it stops filming in the state.

Media Rights Capital, the Beverly Hills, Calif., company producing the popular Netflix show, wrote Gov. Martin O’Malley that it was putting off work on its third season until it could be assured that sufficient tax credits would be approved. If those weren’t forthcoming, it said it would break down its film stage and move it to another state.

Del. William Frick, a Montgomery County Democrat, proposed the provision, which orders the state to use the right of eminent domain to buy or condemn the property of any company that has claimed $10 million or more credits against the state income tax. The provision would appear to apply only to the Netflix series, which has gotten the bulk of the state credits.

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else? They do the same with regulations meant to keep Wal-Mart out of cities. We all know what you’re doing, and you know what you’re doing, and I’m pretty sure you’re not ashamed of it. If you believe this a proper function of government, and you wish to punish specific entities, go for it and be honest about it.

“House of Cards” gets the evil of Washington right, but always makes it seem far too competent in the apparently all-seeing and all-encompassing machinations of Frank Underwood. The production’s tantrum and Del. William Frick’s ham-handed ploy, with its plausible-deniability drafting, are more like what real political power grabs look like in Washington. Frick’s very name is indicative of the inelegant and unsexy real-life wielding of dangerous power. We are in the very dumbest of hands. I’m with Mark Hemingway: “House of Cards” Season 3 should just dramatize this mess, and Frick should have a threesome with Zombie Kate Mara and Donny Hot Fries from the DMV. Charm City, baby.

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You shouldn’t mess with a show that could add a plot twist and make Baltimore (or the whole state even)look very bad. My guess is is the city caves.

Truth Gun on March 27, 2014 at 9:57 PM

House of Cards decided to try to use its newfound fame to extort the state of Maryland. They then found out that the state could do them one better.

Maryland should tell them to get out.

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else?

Three words: bill of attainder.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Who said art can imitate life?

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Maryland should tell them to get out.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Pay attention, Maryland wants the money the show brings in.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Pay attention, Maryland wants the money the show brings in.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

HoC isn’ worth the headache. If they want to work in Maryland, great. If not, they can go elsewhere.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Yep … they’ve got Top Men on this MH370 search.

Top.Men.

Seach for Flight 370 wreckage shifts 680 miles to the northeast based on new analysis

CNN is rapidly becoming my lead suspect in a conspiracy.

PolAgnostic on March 27, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Pay attention, Maryland wants the money the show brings in.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

HoC isn’ worth the headache. If they want to work in Maryland, great. If not, they can go elsewhere.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:10 PM

While that may be your opinion, it clearly is not the opinion of the State of Maryland. Unlike you, the State of Maryland clearly considers the amount of additional revenue brought into Maryland to be not only worth the headache, but worth putting up a rather substantial fight to keep.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Yep … they’ve got Top Men on this MH370 search.

Top.Men.

Seach for Flight 370 wreckage shifts 680 miles to the northeast based on new analysis

CNN is rapidly becoming my lead suspect in a conspiracy.

PolAgnostic on March 27, 2014 at 10:14 PM

In short, they still haven’t found it, and still don’t have a clue where to look for it.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:16 PM

While that may be your opinion, it clearly is not the opinion of the State of Maryland. Unlike you, the State of Maryland clearly considers the amount of additional revenue brought into Maryland to be not only worth the headache, but worth putting up a rather substantial fight to keep.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:15 PM

If they were that desperate for the revenue, they’d give them the credits. But ultimately this isn’t an economic issue. Passing a provision that specifically hits HoC shows that this is more about who is top-dog, and who can intimidate whom.

Put another way: had HoC simply said that they were going to be filming in another state, it’s doubtful that anyone would have blinked an eye. But when you state your case for additional tax credits as an ultimatum of “do what I want, or else,” that’s going to trigger a fight on power & authority.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:21 PM

In short, they still haven’t found it, and still don’t have a clue where to look for it.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:16 PM

.
I expect the Malaysian PM will emphatically announce that the plane is somewhere on the face of the Earth.

At this point, you can count every dime spent searching in the old area as wasted based on the new announcement.

And it has to be doing wonders for the morale of the searchers.

PolAgnostic on March 27, 2014 at 10:21 PM

i wonder what a court would think of eminent domain being used as a punishiment/debt collection tool? and what about due process?

chasdal on March 27, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Maryland should tell them to get out.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Pay attention, Maryland wants the money the show brings in.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

That definitely rates a “No shit, sherlock!” Question is, does Maryland want the money badly enough to play ball, and then should they? This is taxpayer money you’re talking about throwing around here, and that’s something the citizens of Maryland should not take lightly, in my opinion.

gryphon202 on March 27, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Put another way: had HoC simply said that they were going to be filming in another state, it’s doubtful that anyone would have blinked an eye. But when you state your case for additional tax credits as an ultimatum of “do what I want, or else,” that’s going to trigger a fight on power & authority.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:21 PM

No, it’s about the money. HoC came to Maryland for the tax rates. As they became popular, Maryland figured they could remove the tax incentive that they used to lure HoC to Maryland, and HoC said, no, you do that and we will leave. Maryland is trying to say, no, you will not. It isn’t about who is top dog, it’s 100 percent about the money.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:25 PM

This is taxpayer money you’re talking about throwing around here, and that’s something the citizens of Maryland should not take lightly, in my opinion.

gryphon202 on March 27, 2014 at 10:25 PM

Only a Marxist/Democrat thinks that a tax incentive is the peoples money. It’s not, it is not money paid out of the peoples coffers. It is a reduction in the rate of taxation given to encourage a specific economic activity.

Reducing the amount that you intend to increase taxes isn’t a tax reduction either.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:28 PM

No, it’s about the money. HoC came to Maryland for the tax rates. As they became popular, Maryland figured they could remove the tax incentive that they used to lure HoC to Maryland, and HoC said, no, you do that and we will leave. Maryland is trying to say, no, you will not. It isn’t about who is top dog, it’s 100 percent about the money.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:25 PM

If it was about the money, they’d consider the total flows of additional revenue to state coffers versus the worth of a one-time grab of property — which they could just as easily do upon the show’s conclusion anyway. There are also many companies and industries that the state legislature could just as easily target with similar “You move, you’re screwed” legislation that could also fill state coffers. But they’re not.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:30 PM

But they’re not.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Yet…

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Can they please kill each other?
Apparently I have no use for HoC after watching Season 1 as Frank becomes an evil robot in Season 2.

22044 on March 27, 2014 at 10:33 PM

A liberal Hollywood production company and a liberal state are having a tiff? Pass the popcorn and let’s hope for a lot of rounds out of this one!

And no, I do not care who ‘wins.’ Let’s just have a long, drawn out, ugly fight over their pot of filthy lucre.

xNavigator on March 27, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Where is QOTD?

OmahaConservative on March 27, 2014 at 10:38 PM

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else? They do the same with regulations meant to keep Wal-Mart out of cities.

Lefties have long used INTENTIONAL disparate impact to pass laws that were designed to affect only very specific groups or people. Then, the lefties have the unmitigated gall to then claim that there is a “disparate impact” problem in law and accuse everyone else of it (even allowing “intentional or not doesn’t matter” … see the empathetic, wise latina and the firefighters who couldn’t pass a simple exam) and continue on with their own use of disparate impact as one of their main legislative tactics.

These lefties should be in a zoo … incarcerated – the way that word is supposed to be used :)

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 27, 2014 at 10:39 PM

You shouldn’t mess with a show that could add a plot twist and make Baltimore (or the whole state even)look very bad. My guess is is the city caves.

Truth Gun on March 27, 2014 at 9:57 PM

Do you mean the producers of HoC might try to make that Marxist craphole look any worse than it actually is?

That would take a LOT of artistic creativity.

SubmarineDoc on March 27, 2014 at 10:41 PM

If it was about the money,

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:30 PM

HoC has a $50 million per season budget, in a State like Maryland, that is an enormous amount of money. Yes, I live in California, where the County I live in has the same GDP as the entire State of Maryland.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:43 PM

I’ve never watched HOC, and don’t live in Maryland.

However, I’ve read a number of stories about “x company receiving y incentives” to do business in a given locale. The better reporters include details about the length of contract, how much the company has to generate ($ & jobs) to “earn” the incentive, etc.

It’s possible HOC isn’t living up to the terms. It’s even more likely the gov. is just getting greedy.

Maybe they’re both wrong here…

cs89 on March 27, 2014 at 10:43 PM

I’ve lived in the DC area for years, and have been involved in politics. I would have never watched this dumb show if Allah hadn’t pimped it so aggressively. So over the last, say, two weeks, because I was bored and because Allah pimped it so much, I watched all episodes of seasons 1 and 2.

The show is ‘meh’ at best. It’s goofy. There is nothing glamorous about DC politics. It’s a bunch of bureaucratic (wow, I can’t believe I spelled ‘bureaucratic’ right on the first try) imbeciles. They have no brains.

My first question is, why did they kill off Zoe? She was kind of hot. Nice boobies.

My second question would be, why are they filming in Maryland at all? Nothing happens there.

/rant over.

WhatSlushfund on March 27, 2014 at 10:43 PM

You sort of deserve the consequences when you start an endeavor where the politics is so Democratic.

Buddahpundit on March 27, 2014 at 11:10 PM

Only a Marxist/Democrat thinks that a tax incentive is the peoples money. It’s not, it is not money paid out of the peoples coffers. It is a reduction in the rate of taxation given to encourage a specific economic activity.

Reducing the amount that you intend to increase taxes isn’t a tax reduction either.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:28 PM

I was under the impression that HoC is seeking what amount to cash subsidies. *shrug*

gryphon202 on March 27, 2014 at 11:19 PM

We don’t have local, state and federal government in this country anymore. We have local, state and federal organized crime.

dkmonroe on March 27, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else?

Three words: bill of attainder.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

It was an important issue in colonial America, that is why bills of attainder are prohibited by Article I, Section 10, of the United States Constitution.

slp on March 27, 2014 at 11:58 PM

Lol let the idiots on both sides blather on: the hollyweirds who expect tax breaks for them, but no one else; and the state legislators who act hamfisted when negotiations sour.

The result of this little tiff will be twofold, I predict:

1. The production might successfully leverage its fame in extorting another tax break from a different state; *BUT*

2. States will see that MD’s use of eminent domain caused a sting that state legislators will believe they can use to lock down production houses.

Now if the state legislators were smart (I know, I know), they would also set up some kind of baseline audit for the claimed tax advantages the production house trumpets, and require surety against the downside.

*That* would be fun to watch. Squirm, hollywood tax whores!

Wanderlust on March 28, 2014 at 12:41 AM

If Government wasn’t scary enough, the concept of them attacking a single entity like this (whether earned or not) should make your next of kin cringe.

HopeHeFails on March 28, 2014 at 12:49 AM

Squirm, hollywood tax whores!

Wanderlust on March 28, 2014 at 12:41 AM

They’ve got whores in every shape size and persuasion in good ole’ Hollywood. Second perhaps only to Washington DC in their propensity for shady dealings.

gryphon202 on March 28, 2014 at 12:51 AM

Remember when liberals cried outrage when Tea Party conservatives called O’Bozo a socialist? Then they learned that he’s actually a socialist. Good times.

Here we have Stage Two, where we’ve been saying that the only Americans who supported Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela were leftist Democrats, i.e. Socialists, and now the Democrat party of Maryland exposes their inner Chavista.

Scratch a Democrat and you find a socialist.

Jaibones on March 28, 2014 at 6:23 AM

As others have pointed out, of course, the true hilarity of Baltimore going Chavez on Hollywood is that it’s a victimless crime. Going Chavez on your fellow Chavistas is just good fun.

Jaibones on March 28, 2014 at 6:25 AM

They want the tax credits or they are leaving!

Isn’t that how they bust unions?

Maryland hasn’t recovered its original gifts yet, the ones they used to sucker them into coming there.

So basically Marylanders underwrote the production for the privilege of future tax revenues.

Lefties will have their hands full trying to keep people from moving.

Bills of attainder wont work.

Lonetown on March 28, 2014 at 7:16 AM

you mean to tell me corporate taxes and the like are not all praised around a campfire by people singing we are the world every night?
who would have known….

the seizing the property if a company chooses to move out is the real issue here i think. as long as the property taxes (different from the production stuff) was paid and is current this is extremely alarming.

dmacleo on March 28, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Things really are corrupt in Russia. Good thing this could never happen in America.

Wait, what. . . ?

No one’s been offed. Yet.

Leland Yee would like to sell you a gun for that.

rbj on March 28, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Just role out at midnight in a Mayflower truck like the Colts did back in the day. Maryland is too inept to stop them.

William Eaton on March 28, 2014 at 8:55 AM

“Nice set ya got there…”

Akzed on March 28, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else?

Three words: bill of attainder.

Stoic Patriot on March 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Exactly. If they did it that way, it wouldn’t even last a week before a court would pitch it out.

Only a Marxist/Democrat thinks that a tax incentive is the peoples money. It’s not, it is not money paid out of the peoples coffers.

oscarwilde on March 27, 2014 at 10:28 PM

You make absolutely no sense whatsoever with that comment.

GWB on March 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM

This fight appears to be with the state of Maryland, not the city of Baltimore. What gives with the headline?

SD on March 28, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Going Chavez on your fellow Chavistas is just good fun.

Jaibones on March 28, 2014 at 6:25 AM

I found myself inquiring about the shelf-life of popcorn at our big box store.

Checking the futures market next.

Tsar of Earth on March 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Umm….Baltimore has absolutely nothing to do with this story. I presume Ms.Ham means to refer to the MD state capital, which is ANNAPOLIS, where the members of the house of delegates meet and are paid $50k to work a 90 day session and debate very critical issues affecting the quality of life of us MD taxpayers, like obscene tax credits for Hollywood.

MaxBC on March 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

30 years ago today they tried this same thing with the Baltimore Colts. The Colts responded by packing their bags in the middle of the night and taking off. The next day the house passed the resolution and the governor signed it, but it was too late, they had taken off.

One would think that Maryland would have learned it’s lesson. And that is threatening to take people’s stuff is NOT a good way to get people to stick around.

Vegi on March 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Why do these guys even bother writing such provisions as if they’ll apply to anyone else?

A better question: Why do politicians Democrats write laws that they damned well should know will be struck down by the courts?

Or maybe they believe the Fourteenth Amendment can just be waved off, like ObamaCare?

Paul_in_NJ on March 28, 2014 at 7:40 PM