Michigan's film industry urges compromise on tax credits

Apr 8, 2011

Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to get rid of the current film tax credit and replace it with a more modest grant program has met with a lot of resistance from the film community.

But now some film folks say they’re willing to compromise.

Since 2008, Michigan has offered up to a 42% tax credit for movies made here. That amounted to the state paying out  $60 million last year.

Governor Snyder says the state can’t afford that, and he wants to replace the tax credit with a grant program that caps out at $25 million.

Jeff Spilman is with Michigan Film First, an advocacy group. He says $25 million is too low and won’t bring movies or jobs to Michigan, but he says lowering the incentive to the 35% - 38% range could work:

"We’d still get films here and we’d have a lot of Michigan folks working."

Spilman hopes the state legislators will work out a compromise, "in light of the fact that so many jobs have been created and it happened so quickly and they’re high-paying jobs, it certainly makes sense to have this incentive carry on in a way that brings films to Michigan and hires Michigan people."

A recent study by the state's Convention & Visitors Bureau shows Michigan’s film tax incentives created nearly 4,000 fulltime jobs last year with an average salary of $53,700.

Michigan Film First hired a firm to lobby its cause in Lansing.