Michigan governor proposes eliminating state film incentives

A film being shot on location.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The debate over public workers in Wisconsin is front and center in the news today. But it's not the only state with budget -- and political issues going on. In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder's proposed nearly eliminating the state's tax incentives for the film industry. Right now, production companies get back around 40 percent of their investment when they set up shop there. That's made Michigan the third most popular state in the country for film production. Behind California and New York.

Alex Rosaen is a consultant for the Anderson Group. He's with us from East Lansing, Michigan. Good morning.

ALEX ROSAEN: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: So what is the governor proposing here?

ROSAEN: Well as part of a larger major tax overhaul, the governor's proposing to severely limit a lot of tax credits for business including this film incentive.

CHIOTAKIS: And what happens to the film groups and the people who are already there? Are they hit by this as well?

ROSAEN: Well, existing agreements will be honors,but going forward it looks like there's going to be a drastic reduction in the credit, and a corresponding drastic reduction probably in film activity in the state because the only reason to make a film in Michigan thus far has been because the state's paying to do it.

CHIOTAKIS: Will other states take advantage do you think, of Michigan drastically reducing this?

ROSAEN: Perhaps, different states have been toying around with the idea. The film industry is very cost sensitive and very mobile. A lot of locations are competing for film production, and if we step out of the game, some one else will gain.

CHIOTAKIS: What it worth it to have this film credit in the first place? I mean did it really bring in so much money and economic activity to the state?

ROSAEN: Well, I'll say two things. First everybody especially in South East Michigan seems to know somebody who got some work from this. but we have to ask ourselves do we want to create an industry that's entirely dependent on a state subsidy? That's why it's very controversial whether or not it was worth it.

CHIOTAKIS: Alex Rosaen, consultant for the Anderson Group in Michigan. Thank you so much for your time.

ROSAEN: You're welcome.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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