In this week’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney said he would cut off funding to public broadcasting — sparking a social networking firestorm from fans of Big Bird and other beloved PBS characters.
But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a bill that indirectly created a huge new pool of funding for WGBH and other companies that make shows for public television.
Boston public television giant WGBH received $4.2 million from the state’s film tax credit program last year alone for programs like “American Experience,” “Antiques Roadshow,” and “Nova.” And Watertown animation studio Soup2Nuts received about $300,000 in subsidies last year, mostly for the PBS series “WordGirl.”
“It has been very helpful for us to make our budget,” said WGBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins. “That’s funding we would have to find elsewhere.”
The Massachusetts program offers companies $1 in film tax credits for every $4 they spend filming movies, television shows, and commercials in the state — including for PBS. Over the first five years, hundreds of productions qualified for more than $276 million in credits.
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