New Film Subsidy Study Doesn't Show Full Picture

A new study that claims Michigan receives an economic benefit from its film subsidy program has come under fire, according to statewide media reports.

Michael LaFaive, director of the Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative, told WEYI-TV25 in Saginaw that no study so far on the subsidy program shows a positive economic benefit.

“The (2009 MSU) model treated the program as if the money that was being spent on the state was manna from heaven, that there were no costs associated,” LaFaive said. “That’s not an economic reality.”

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A 2009 policy brief by LaFaive titled “Special Effects: Flawed Report on Film Incentive Provides Distorted Lens” explains why studies that do not take the costs of the program into account provide an inaccurate picture.

“Every dollar used to incentify film production is $1 deprived to entrepreneurs and other people across the state for their own use,” LaFaive told The Detroit News.

LaFaive told FOX-TV6 in Marquette that a Senate Fiscal Agency study, “actually reported that no film incentive has generated as much revenues as it has taken from the treasury.”