Michigan Film Incentives ‘All But Dead’

But if the MEDC wants them, it can keep them

A Senate panel has voted to eliminate Michigan’s film incentive program from the state budget beginning next year. The bill will move on to the full Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, told the Detroit Free Press that roads are a higher priority for the state.

Former Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) was a big booster of the program and has been trying to save it. He told MIRS News, “I do think it's all but considered dead.”

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The state House has already voted to end the subsidies. The state Senate bill ends the incentives as well as Michigan’s film office. The bills need to be reconciled before being put up for a final vote in both chambers and then the governor.

Film subsidies are widely seen by economists across the spectrum as one of the worst ways to spend tax dollars. Michigan’s “economic development” agency, the MEDC, could continue selectively funding films, however. But while all areas of government “economic development” spending is controversial, film production is one of the most transient industries — reflected in the abysmal return on investment for taxpayers from subsidizing this industry. If the bill passes, it is likely that the state will finally be out of the film subsidy game.

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