This blog is not political, however, I can’t let this issue go unmentioned. As many will know, the Governor elect of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has proposed to remove the Michigan Film Tax Incentives that have brought so many movies to Michigan in the last 2 years. This decision is clearly a political one, but was backed up by what appear to be some poor studies that have been done on the effectiveness of the tax incentives in terms of return on the $.
There are plenty of sites that are now discussing these incentives, explaining what are and what they have achieved. There is a grass roots campaign starting up with the aim of reversing the Governor’s decision. A majority of people in Michigan are in favor of the incentives. During the elections the Governor himself indicated that he would not pull the rug out from under the industry, but that is exactly what he has done. Many people, myself included, find this to be a staggeringly stupid decision given the current economic climate in Michigan. Those involved in the movie industry in Michigan in any way have known instinctively that this is a Good Thing for the state. Websites are full of personal stories and anecdotes detailing the positive impact of the industry on individuals and companies in the state. But stories and anecdotes alone aren’t going to sway those interested in the bottom line.
Finally, only 2 days after the Governor announced his budget proposals, we have a detailed report from Ernst and Young that show how incredibly well the incentives have worked. They have brought money and employment. Even if your only fundamental interest is the bottom line, this has to be enough evidence that these incentives are worth the investment.
If you are in Michigan, I would urge you to write to read the report and then contact your representatives to get this point across. There’s a lot of hate out there for the incentives, but even the haters have to look at the real, tangible numbers and see that they make sense for Michigan. Stick to the facts, save the vitriol (although I may share some of it, it isn’t going to help the cause). The incentives have brought money and jobs to a state in desperate need of both. They’ve also brought hope, which is harder to quantify and put on a spreadsheet. But hope will lead to more people investing, more people staying in the state, more jobs, more people paying taxes. Guess what that leads to? More dollars.
Bottom line: The Michigan Film Incentives are good for Michigan. Don’t let them be dismantled before we have a chance to see how much better they can be if they are given longer to work.