Rebublican leader hopes to sweeten Michigan's film incentives

Jul 14, 2011

The old film incentives were scrapped in the tax overhaul approved by the Michigan legislature and the Governor.

They said the old film incentives, which gave production companies a 42% credit on total expenses in Michigan, was too costly ($115 million was spent last year, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy).

In it's place, a $25 million film incentive program for Michigan's next fiscal year (which starts October 1).

Now, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says he wants to improve the film incentives.

MPRN's Rick Plua filed this report:

Richardville says his new proposal would focus financial support in activities that reward spending on Michigan products, services, and workers.

He says investors have put money into expensive production facilities, and workers have learned new skills in the belief that incentives would attract more film business to the state.

 “I think the strength of that workforce, the strength of the investments we have in Michigan will cause us to win contracts in competitive situations versus other states. Once we’re done with that, then let’s analyze it to see what we can afford versus what the industry needs to sustain itself here in Michigan.”

Governor Rick Snyder’s office says he would like to see how Michigan’s new incentive program is working before making changes.

Crain's Detroit Business reports that Richardville's bill (Senate Bill 569) could initially provide funding of:

• 27 percent of direct production expenditures.

• 30 percent for Michigan personnel expenditures until 2015, when the percentage drops to 25 percent.

• 27 percent for other personnel expenditures, declining in subsequent years to 12 percent in 2015.

In addition, the state could provide a 2 percent to 5 percent bonus for direct production expenses and Michigan personnel expenses at Michigan-owned studios.

Payment and compensation for producers who are Michigan residents would be capped at 10 percent of direct production expenses and qualified personnel expenses and capped at 5 percent for non-Michigan producers.

Production companies filming movies, TV shows, music videos, video games, commercials and Internet programming and videos would be eligible for the benefits under Richardville's bill.