Moore, now a member of the state's Film Office Advisory Council, was once seemingly critical of the program, Mackinac Center video reveals
For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 2010
Contact: Michael LaFaive
Director, Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative
MIDLAND — The 2009 documentary "Capitalism: A Love Story," produced by Michigan filmmaker Michael Moore, has been approved for a subsidy from the Michigan Film Office, according to a video released today by Kathy Hoekstra, communications specialist for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Moore is a member of the Film Office Advisory Council, which advises the state-run Michigan Film Office.
"While we don't blame Mr. Moore and his production team for taking what is offered, it's striking that a movie focused on the inequities of granting taxpayer dollars to private enterprise would apply for and receive taxpayer-funded incentives," said Michael LaFaive, fiscal policy director at the Mackinac Center. "Government should not be bailing out or subsidizing Wall Street banks or main street filmmakers. As Moore knows, this marriage between government and business — in the name of creating and saving jobs - can facilitate every sort of mischief."
At a forum in July 2008, Moore seemed critical of the program, which provides filmmakers with refundable tax credits worth as much as 42 percent of expenditures for movies made in the state.
"These are large multinational corporations — Viacom, GE, Rupert Murdoch — that own these studios," said Moore at the Traverse City event. "Why do they need our money, from Michigan, from our taxpayers, when we're already broke here? I mean, they play one state against another, and so they get all this free cash when they're making billions already in profits. What's the thinking behind that?"
Janet Lockwood, director of the Michigan Film Office, would not disclose how much the payment might be for "Capitalism: A Love Story."
"Given the state's precarious fiscal status, should struggling families and businesses continue subsidizing filmmakers?" asked LaFaive. "How can a state with the nation's worst unemployment rate justify special tax favors to millionaire filmmakers? We already know the incentive fails as an economic development tool."
A more detailed analysis of "Capitalism: A Love Story," the Michigan film incentive and the appearance of a conflict of interest can be found at www.mackinac.org/12024.