LANSING (WWJ) – Advocates of Michigan’s film industry are meeting in Lansing Friday to make their voices heard about Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal that would serious cut back efforts to bring movie production to the state.

The Governor is proposing to cap film credits to $25 million dollars a year, saying it has been a drain on the state budget.

Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Chair Emery King explained that the film industry has not only helped to keep budding film makers and young people in Michigan, but it has actually brought them to Detroit.

“Many of those students will be there to testify and will be there to urge the Governor and legislators to not take this draconian action on the Michigan film office.”

Jeffrey Spilman of S3 Entertainment in Oakland County says Michigan’s film industry stopped still after the Governor’s budget proposal.

“We had three productions that on Friday told us they were leaving Michigan. And they would have employed 500 Michigan workers at an average rate of about $30 an hour,” Spilman said.

While critics say the film tax rebate is a drain on Michigan taxpayers, King said the industry is breathing life into Detroit and needs time to take root.

“We will realize that the ancillary benefits and the true economic impact will be tremendous in this state,” King said.

Vice-Chair of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council Jim Burnstein said great strides have been made in stopping Michigan’s brain drain, and that if this proposal is approved, “everything we’ve built up will be gone.”

Comments (10)
  1. BobbyD says:

    Great, but where/when is the ‘Protest’ scheduled to take place?

    1. Born n raised in Michigan says:

      Guv Snyder is doing ther right thing. These film credits were another example of Guv Granholm trying to pick winners to make Michigan successful. It simply doesn’t work and leaves other industrys wondering why not mine. Imagine subidizing any industry. Give them money and they will come. Take it away and they will…

      1. PJ Edwards says:

        They did give all the other industries money and continued to do so for a loooong time, and the film incentives are here to stay!

  2. A Michigan Resident says:

    Still waiting for the protest and pro-action plan to save the Michigan auto industry. With challenges from NAFTA, out-sourcing, in-sourcing and a whole host of cost reductions, including 319,000 unemployed in a recent 2 year period, one would think more Michigan rebuttal would have been expressed to save a major economic source in out state.

    I see the activists for the Michigan neo-film industry are working. I don’t see activists for the long history auto industry doing much.

  3. Jim says:

    If the state was a 42% stock holder in all the productions and received back that much of the profits, maybe you’d have a valid argument. The film industry is a mercenary group, and all their profits leave town for places unknown, considering what the actors make. I hope they pay State income tax on what they earn while working here.

    1. Robert says:

      According to the Film Office’s official figures, nearly 80% of all money paid in salaries last year through this subsidy program went to out of state workers. The Michigan tax code allowed the bulk of them to claim state taxes in their home state, not in Michigan.

      And all of these hotel stays you hear are bolstering our tax coffers? Under a little advertised provision of this subsidy, production companies pay no taxes on hotel stays of over 30 days.

      The film lobby has been allowed to toss around selected figures that bolster their case, while avoiding discussing the true cost of the program to the state. Incentives such as this one have failed miserably in every other state that has tried them, which explains why 13 other states have either ended or severely curtailed their film incentive programs this year alone.

      It’s time to stem the bleeding before we kill Michigan with this over sized piece of pork.

  4. Inspire Michigan says:

    These comments are incredibly short-sighted and, in most cases, blatantly false. When you look at the value of economic development initiatives, you focus on the spending stimulus. That’s what Penske did for the Super Bowl and no said his math was bad for the State. That’s what the auto barons did for the auto show and no one cried about those numbers… The Ernst & Young study finally got around to doing this for the film credits. Television and Film crews spend money… a lot of it. And I’m talking about “per diem” and personal money out of their own pockets. That money was never quantified by the sycophants at the Mackinac Policy Think Tank or Snyder’s budget guru (who comes to us from the great state of Utah, where NONE of the problems that we face even exist).

    If you cut corporate taxes, do you think they will go on a spending spree and stimulate our economy? Do you think they will run out and create new and exciting jobs that stem the brain drain? Do you think they will go out and attract other businesses to compete with them?

    Of course not! They will stockpile profit and elevate their stock value, so they can collect HUGE year-end bonuses on the working man’s dime. Meanwhile, pensions, preservation, redevelopment, workforce retraining, and new industry initiatives will take the fall. Let me ask one simple question, “Do you seriously believe that a ‘middle of the road’ corporate tax rate will attract business to a state that has labor relations issues, crumbling roads, struggling schools, municipal insolvency, and poor overall quality of life ratings?”

    We need incentive programs to reinvent our economy. I don’t care if it’s multimedia, information technology, bio-medical… picking winners is what smart economic development teams are supposed to do… What the hell are we paying the MEDC for if they can’t pick good businesses or industries to incentivize?

  5. Michigan Film says:

    Well said Inspire Michigan. Ernst & Young report stated the Obvious that objectors fail to comprehend. The incentives have created an industry in a short two years. I’ll repeat, created an industry in two short years. Opponents don’t comprehend stemming brain drain….well that’s obvious why not. Corporate opponents and others have an agenda against the film business. If they made faith based movies they’d be all for it. The incentives work. Keep them going. Reread the above.

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