LANSING, Michigan – State Representative George T. Darany said Wednesday that while the film incentive plan for 2012 is a good start, Michigan should do more to foster an industry that has proven to create jobs and put thousands of Michigan residents back to work. The Michigan Film Office said that they would stop accepting applications for 2012 film incentives until the Legislature provided guidelines on how the funds should be distributed. During the final days of session in 2011, lawmakers passed legislation that established these guidelines. However, the new plan severely limits the amount of incentives available for Michigan-made productions.
“The original legislation that was passed in 2008 set the stage for millions of dollars to be invested by the film industry in Michigan,” said Darany. “However, at the start of 2011, we saw the industry come under attack with a proposal to phase-out the film credits. Eliminating these credits restricts Michigan’s ability to diversify our economy and attract projects that will help rebuild our state. While I am pleased that some incentives were made available, we should not be discouraging emerging industries that have made substantial investments in Michigan.”
The 2012 budget caps the total funds that are available for new film incentives to $25 million, which is a significant reduction from the original program. According to the Michigan Film Incentive 2010 Annual Report, an anticipated $39.8 million film incentive brought the major motion picture “Oz: The Great and Powerful” to Michigan. The report listed that the production, which just recently wrapped, planned to spend approximately $105 million in the state and hire more than 250 Michigan residents. The film was shot at the Raleigh Michigan Studios in Pontiac which invested $80 million to have the studio built in the state.
“The bill we passed in December will provide some financial assistance for a very limited amount of qualified productions in Michigan,” said Darany. “However, we need to do more if we want to make our state competitive in the film industry. The former incentives were very successful in making Michigan one of the top states for attracting film and TV projects, which brought us jobs and economic activity. At a time when many Michigan citizens are still struggling economically, we should not be leaving job opportunities on the cutting room floor.”