Jun 17, 2008
MEDC says give film tax breaks time to work
LANSING – Officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation told lawmakers Tuesday to give the recently enacted tax breaks for filmmakers time to work.
Even though the bills passed almost unanimously in March, Republicans have criticized the bipartisan package as a giveaway to one industry. Lisa Dansock, from the MEDC, told the House Commerce Committee that since the bills were approved, 30 films have been approved that will spend more than $230 million in the state, and Michigan is one of the top spots for film production.
It has also led to infrastructure investment in soundstages, studios and other structures totaling $25-$50 million. It will also contribute to stopping the brain drain of young, creative people leaving the state, and it will help retrain displaced workers.
“It’s really interesting to see the ripple effect,” said Committee Chair Rep. Andy Meisner, D-Ferndale. “When we draft legislation we set goals, and we are meeting the goals.”
What has come under fire is the incentive that allows production companies a 40 percent rebate on the Michigan Business Tax (MBT). But Dansock said the estimated $86 million in rebates will not occur until 2009, and only after all of the production costs have been verified and audited. She also said that money will go into the coffers of Michigan businesses.
“We need to let these incentives work,” she said.