With a stroke of a pen, Governor Rick Snyder has put the last nail in the coffin on film incentives in Michigan.
Signing House Bill 4122, now Public Act 117 of 2015 today, all current deals will be honored but no new incentives will be offered by the state of Michigan to bring the film industry or film production into the state. The program has been around since 2008 and has brought some big name productions to Michigan. There’s about three years left on some of the projects already in the pipeline.
That doesn’t bode well for the future of films in Michigan, as even in the home of Hollywood, the state of California, there are more than $300 million in incentives offered annually and the reality is large film production generally goes to where the incentives are.
Governor Snyder, however, believes that the state still has a fighting chance.
“It’s important that we support creativity and innovation in our state, and we’ll continue to have a Michigan Film Office to assist moviemakers and production staff,” Snyder said. “Michigan has much to offer the movie industry, including top-notch talent and beautiful backdrops that will continue to draw filmmakers to Michigan even without taxpayer-funded incentives.”
The bill signed into law does not kill the Michigan Film Office, as a previous version threatened to do. Daily Detroit readers overwhelmingly in a recent poll (93%) of more than 350 surveyed said that the office should stay open.
“The incentive program may have come to an end, but as has been done for over 30 years, the MFO will continue with our mission to attract film productions, and further build the film and digital media industries in Michigan,” said Michigan Film Office Commissioner Jenell Leonard in a statement.
Film incentives have become a hot button topic in the state, with proponents believing they help bring jobs and an industry to the state, and detractors saying that there hasn’t been a good return on investment (60 cents on the dollar according to a 2010 report) and the incentives have not created a sustainable industry. What do you think?