Detroit Free Press Editor Points out Film Incentive Flaws

In his column for the Detroit Free Press, editor Stephen Henderson expresses frustration from the Michigan film incentive’s lack of success in attracting a permanent presence in the state. He writes:

The credits also need a clear end point. The idea behind the subsidy was to encourage infrastructure to take root here for the industry, so that it could thrive even past the credit’s existence. But how long should we be expected to wait for that to happen?

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A better way of operating these incentives is to be explicitly clear about what the state expects from it. Failure to meet those goals should cause policymakers to end the program. As I wrote last December:

Legislators stated that they expect a Michigan-based film industry, but two years after the incentive was passed, a studio has yet to be operational, let alone self-sustaining. While industry supporters argue that given enough time, film producers will stay in the state without the incentive, policymakers have not discussed when they think this will occur or how many of these permanent jobs are expected, even though they boast that they will be coming.

As Henderson points out, the film incentive was meant to generate a film industry in Michigan that would exist without special favors. In light of this goal, the incentive has so far been only an expensive failure.