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Michigan's film industry urges compromise on tax credits

The state's film tax credits are on the chopping block under Governor Snyder's budget proposal
Andrew McFarlane
creative commons
The state's film tax credits are on the chopping block under Governor Snyder's budget proposal

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.


Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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