Letter to the Detroit Free Press on Film Subsidies

Corporate welfare programs rarely produce net new jobs

Mitch Albom’s March 14 defense of subsidies for film makers should inspire lawmakers to end this public policy mistake. Corporate welfare programs rarely produce net new jobs, especially in light of superior alternatives.

In order to subsidize the jobs of a few “carpenters and drivers,” among others, which Albom says resulted from the program, money must first be taken from many others. The net effect is at best a wash, most likely a loss.

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He claims the subsidy appropriation of “fifty million isn’t breaking the state.” The irony is palpable. It appeared next to an article arguing that Michigan doesn’t have enough money to fix its roads. Fifty million a year could fill 2.5 million potholes each year.

I do agree with Albom that the MEGA corporate welfare program offered too many large tax credits to business. But this 16 year-old program was also a proven job creation failure.