Dr. Joel Timmer


In recent years, many states have offered incentive programs to lure film production and its associated economic benefits—increased jobs, spending, and tourism—to their states. Several of these programs have restrictions that deny incentives based on a film’s content. For example, Texas denies film incentives to projects that have “inappropriate content” or portray “Texas or Texans in a negative way.” This article concludes that these restrictions do not violate the First Amendment. Two key considerations factor into this conclusion: First, in granting subsidies, the government may apply criteria that would be impermissible in a regulatory context. Second, the denial of a subsidy is not the same as the infringement of a right.