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Michigan film incentives could become a thing of the past

Mar 4, 2015

Film rolls.
Credit Luca Nonato / Flickr

The Michigan film incentives have been a point of debate for years.

The incentives give film companies cash rebates based on the amount of money they spent in the state to make their movies.

At their peak, film incentives in Michigan would pay production companies 42% of their costs. That's when movie stars like Drew Barrymore, Clint Eastwood, and David Schwimmer started showing up regularly in the state.

Today, the film credits reimburse at a lower percentage and the total the state can compensate companies is capped at $50 million.

Now, with the state facing a big budget hole, those film incentives are once again on the chopping block. 

More from Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press:

The House Tax Policy Committee voted Wednesday to end incentives to the film industry on Oct. 1 — signaling the beginning of the end of a robust presence of movie, television and digital media productions in the state.

The incentives were extended last year to last until the end of 2021, but state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, wants to see them ended when the state's new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, and sponsored a bill that received verbal support from many legislators during a hearing last week on the plan. A large contingent of union members, actors and film industry supporters spoke in favor of hanging on to the incentives to ensure the movie momentum doesn't stall in the state.

Gray points out that one of the biggest supporters of the incentives, former Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, is gone. And Governor Snyder, according to Gray, has no position on the bill now moving through the Legislature.

*Correction - An earlier version of this post stated the current caps are set at $25 million. They are set at $50 million annually. It's been corrected above.