Michigan Senate Finance Chairwoman cites Tax Foundation Report on Damaging Effects of Film Tax Credit

February 4, 2010

Michigan State Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Nancy Cassis (R) cited Tax Foundation Special Report No. 173: “Movie Production Incentives: Blockbuster Support for Lackluster Policy” in her op-ed “State must revamp laws on generous film studies” in the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI):

The cold, hard fact is this – according to a report by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization, state tax incentives for film production are out of control. The report criticizes such giveaways and argues they fail to spur economic growth or raise tax revenue.

Despite the benefits frequently trumpeted by boosters, these refunds come at a great cost. If we continue allowing filmmakers to qualify for subsidies covering up to 42 percent of their in-state production costs, experts estimate that Michigan’s film incentives will mean a net loss of $98 million this year and another $120 million in 2011.

Senator Cassis is right on the mark. While supporters argue that movie production incentives will drive the rich and famous to Michigan and boost the state’s economy, in truth, that is not happening. Movie production incentives fail to encourage economic growth and fail to raise revenue.

Senator Cassis is wise to confront this issue. Hopefully Michigan legislators will follow suit and decide to revamp their law on movie production incentives. As we state in our Special Report, “Until then, filmmakers will continue to enjoy the bounty while taxpayers are left with the bill.”

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