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New Location For Film Industry Town Hall Meeting

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Organizers of a town hall meeting focused on the film industry have changed the location of the meeting. 

The event, which is scheduled so people can talk about how to most effectively communicate to Michigan’s legislators, governor and voting public why the film incentive program should be preserved, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Laurel Manor on Schoolcraft Road in Livonia

Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to limit tax credits to $25 million  has supporters of the incentive marshaling their forces.

Among the speakers will be actor/filmmaker Jeff Daniels and University of Michigan Film Professor and veteran screenwriter Jim Burnstein who was one of the original architects of the tax credit. 

Speaking to WWJ’s Jayne Bower, Burnstein said the incentives have brought more than just money to Michigan.

“The bonus was — and this was something in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have expected — my kids, when they graduate, they can’t wait to move to Detroit,” Burnstein said. 

Hear more from Burnstein:

Local actor Devon Lucas tells WWJ the incentives made it possible for him to find work on the show Detroit 187.  But, if they vanish, so will he.

“We have to go where the work is hot.  And, if it’s not hot in Michigan, then you have to go to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago,” Lucas said.

Local actor and producer Mike Binder will also be featured at the event.

Supporters hope to coordinate a letter-writing, e-mail-sending and telephone call campaign to state lawmakers and Governor Snyder whose budget proposal would kill the film incentives as they exist today.  The Governor said they are “unsustainable”.

Rochester Hills Republican state representative Tom McMillin says the film tax subsidy program doesn’t make sense. 

“It was put into place to get headlines at the expense of taxpayer dollars.  Paying 42% of any industry will result in losing money for taxpayers,” McMillin said in a statement. 

“Gov. Snyder is very wise to call for the drastic reduction of this job-killing special interest program.  And it is job-killing.  All other Michigan businesses have to pay higher taxes, $190 million higher taxes, to fund this scheme.  That clearly means they had to layoff employees or forego hiring additional employees in order to pay the higher taxes.”

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