Michigan House Committee Looks to End State Film Incentives

By Ray Wilbur
Listen Up, Lansing

The Michigan Film Office, which helped bring films like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” to East Lansing, is fighting to keep their incentive program after the Michigan House of Representatives Tax Policy Committee voted to end the program earlier this March. The incentive program was extended until 2021 last year, but state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, wants the program ended by the beginning of the next fiscal year. “The incentive program just isn’t fiscally responsible right now for taxpayers and the state,” Lauwers said. The Michigan Film Office was created in 1979, and meant to assist and attract incoming production companies to boost Michigan’s economy, according to its website. A dramatic shift in in Michigan’s automobile industry in 2008 left many factory and commercial buildings open to be transformed into sound stages and production facilities, and created a need for in-state money, which paved the way for the Michigan Film Office incentive program, director of the Michigan Film Office Jenell Leonard said.

Higher incentives boost film projects

By YANJIE WANG
Capital News Service
LANSING — Because tax incentives for film production recently doubled, Margaret O’Riley of Fenton, new head of the Michigan Film Office, said efforts to promote films and digital projects in the state will be unceasing. The state-funded program reimburses part of the cost of film and digital media projects produced in Michigan. Last year, incentives were cut dramatically from $115 million in 2010 to $25 million. But this year, the office can offer $58 million incentives, which include $50 million for the new fiscal year, plus an additional $8 million rolled over from 2011. “It would be a game changer for Michigan’s film industry,” said Rick Hert, film commissioner at the West Michigan Film Office in Grand Rapids.