Editorial Blasts Michigan Film Subsidy Program

Film office reports 'pathetically lacking'

A recent Livingston Daily Press & Argus editorial takes to task the Michigan film subsidy program, saying the state has failed "to produce any hard data that would allow the public — or state lawmakers, for that matter — to determine" if the giveaway is working.

Research cited in the Livingston Daily by James Hohman, the Center's fiscal policy analyst, shows that almost 10 percent fewer people in Michigan are employed in the film industry compared to when the subsidy program began.

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The Detroit News reports that film industry employement nationwide is down less than 9 percent.

The Livingston Daily went on to say that "While state officials brag about apparent successes of individual film productions, they steadfastly withhold the type of information needed to fully evaluate the program." The editorial says information released by the state is "carefully manipulated and often meaningless," and that "required reports due annually to the Legislature are pathetically lacking."

The Livingston Daily last month also pointed out the shortcomings and lack of transparency of the most recent Michigan Film Office report.

Transparency problems have plagued the film subsidy program for almost a year, and it has come under increasing scrutiny from legislators.