In 2011, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore sat on the advisory council for the Michigan Film Office. The office is in charge of determining what productions will receive the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been sent from state taxpayers to mostly out-of-state moviemakers since 2008.
So perhaps it should not be surprising to learn that Moore himself – with a reported personal net worth of $50 million – was able to grab taxpayer money to cover some of the costs for his 2009 film “Capitalism: A Love Story” (which criticized the well-connected for taking taxpayer money).
As previously reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential: “Moore requested and was approved for $1 million from Michigan’s film subsidy program. In the end, according to The New York Times, he received over $840,000 from Michigan taxpayers to film some of the movie in his home state.”
Today, the Legislature is considering a bill that would end the film incentives fiasco once and for all. The program has redistributed nearly $500 million from taxpayers, added no jobs to Michigan’s film industry, has been criticized by independent scholars from across the political spectrum, and has contributed to schemes that resulted in the near-bankruptcy of the city of Allen Park and a raid of the state’s teacher pension fund to bailout a movie studio in Pontiac.
House Bill 4122 has passed out of a committee in the state House. It now heads to the full House where it is expected to pass – the House and Gov. Snyder have previously proposed ending the program. Then the bill will head to the state Senate, which has a 27-11 overwhelming Republican majority, where it may hit a roadblock. Insiders say there may be enough legislators in the GOP to kill or severely stamp down the bill.
According to the last report filed by the Michigan Film Office, the film incentive created zero permanent jobs in 2013. It is central planning at its worst, and there are far better ways to spend taxpayer money.
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