Town halls examine Michigan's endangered film incentives

Feb 23, 2011

There are a pair of town hall meetings happening tomorrow night regarding the Michigan film industry tax incentive program, which Governor Snyder’s budget caps at 25 million dollars.

The purpose of the town halls is to communicate to Michigan’s citizens, legislators, and governor why exactly the state’s film incentive program should be preserved.

Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and a panelist for Thursday night’s town hall in Livonia, said this to radio host Nancy Skinner about the tax incentive program:

“This industry is not like other industries. If we can allocate enough money to keep it going at the rate it has been going, we can be fiscally responsible as well as keeping this industry going.

“Otherwise, not only are you going to send a whole lot of other people right back out of here who moved in, you are going to discourage so many citizens who finally thought of Michigan as a place where, hey, it’s young, it’s hip, it’s creative. Not just the auto business.”

Governor Snyder believes that the state simply doesn’t have the money to continue the program. From the Chicago Tribune:

"Snyder says Michigan no longer can afford the credits, noting the state faces a $1.4 billion deficit in the upcoming budget year. He also says the incentives aren't needed because he's dramatically lowering corporate taxes on all businesses, which still makes Michigan a good place to do business."

"'Our goal here is not to create undue havoc, but to recognize there is an industry here,' the Republican governor said Thursday after releasing his budget proposal. 'But it needs to move out of the incentive model at some point.'"

The town halls will be happening at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids and at Maxsar Studios in Livonia.

-Brian Short, Michigan Radio News