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The Michigan Film Incentive: Safe for now!

Good news for anyone in the movie business in Michigan: what was recently looming as a hungry lion over the Michigan Film Incentive has, for the most part, been defanged – Senate Bill 838 is stuck in a Lansing quagmire and essentially defeated in the State House of Representatives. One of the most successful boons to our state in decades is, for the time being, safe from harm.


Bill 838 showed up last year after a few Lansing politicians challenged the Incentive’s cost-effectiveness and asked for it to be reduced. Now, though not technically dead, has been stuck ‘in committee’ ever since the House had a hearing on it. Those who paid attention in Civics class might recall that things stuck ‘in committee’ often never see the light of day, and so far Bill 838 doesn’t show signs of getting free any time soon.


Even if it did, any current politician would be swimming some pretty choppy waters to vote against something that 70% of state residents support. Even a recent poll by the Mackinac Center, a Michigan think tank that of late has ongoingly challenged the effectiveness of the Incentive, also showed that 67% of those polled gave it a big thumbs-up.


As such, the horizon for 2010 looks clear, calm and primed for an even more lucrative and exciting work year than Michigan has had yet to date.


In case you don’t know (where have you BEEN??) on April 7th, 2008, the Michigan state legislature signed into law the Michigan Film Incentive that gives film production companies the highest return on their investment in the nation – a whopping forty to forty-two percent return, as well as other discounts on infrastructure expenses and workforce training.


Since its inception, it truly has had a huge positive impact on our beleaguered state. How do we know? Well, as always, money talks: from 1946 to 2007 the average number of films produced each year here in Michigan was….two. From the passing of the state incentive to today the total number of projects produced in Michigan grew to…eighty-four!! So did it make a difference? You betcha! A big one.


With Michigan’s huge budget shortfall, the worst unemployment in the nation and several Michigan industries that, to put it colloquially, ‘ain’t what they used t’ be’, none of us wants to hang on to anything that might make our plight worse. At the end of this film day, however, it looks like the only thing threatening the Michigan Film Incentive…is a standing ovation.
 

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