LANSING (WWJ) – Despite the state House passing a bill to end incentives for the film industry, members heard from the state Film Office Wednesday about the tourism potential of the industry in Michigan.
Director Jenell Leonard spoke to the House Tourism and Recreation Committee.READ MORE: Firefighter From Michigan Battling Wildfire In Oregon Dies After Being Struck By Tree, Officials Say
“We have the beauty of the rural area – that’s second to no other state in the nation. So why not try to capture this and spread it through the entertainment industry,” said Leonard.
She says Michigan is very competitive with an incentive rate of up to 35 percent.
“(It’s important to) kind of paint the picture for them – Michigan is more than just the set they are on. It’s more than lights, camera and action. It’s actually more about Michigan ; the beauty and the diversity of the state,” said Leonard.READ MORE: Police Seek Suspect After Man Riding Bicycle Fatally Shot In Detroit
The fate of the $50 million film incentive program is still in the hands of the Legislature. Meanwhile, the governor has proposed keeping it.
In 2014, it was noted that Michigan’s competitors offer tax credits of 25 percent to 35 percent, according to a Film Office report. New York had $420 million in funding in 2013, while Pennsylvania had $60 million, with a $12 million per-project cap. Louisiana had no cap on annual spending or individual projects.
Film industry workers said last year there was a noticeable reduction in available jobs after the 2011 restructuring of the incentives program. Jil Szewski, an art department coordinator and assistant director from Oxford, Michigan, said she moved to Los Angeles as a result.MORE NEWS: 3 Arrested After Firing Shots At Officers, Leading Them On High-Speed Chase Ending In Allen Park
Szewski, 29, said she would move back if she knew more productions would come to Michigan.