Friday, March 27, 2009

Efforts to Cap Film Industry in Michigan Already Scaring Away Business

According to West Michigan Tourist Association executive director Rick Hert, the efforts to curb the film industry credits are already causing people to have second thoughts about Michigan. Thanks, Nancy!

"It's unfortunate. It really is," he said, pointing out that Cassis was the only senator vote against the 2008 incentive law. "The film program is less than a year old. The state went from making a few million dollars per year to hundreds of millions per year."

Because of the possible reduction in the tax credit, Hert said some production companies are already getting cold feet about shooting in Michigan.

"We started getting calls from Los Angeles asking if we were still in the business," he said. "We're trying to build a program, an industry here."

Let's see. It brings thousands of jobs, millions in revenue, a ton of great national publicity to a state that desperately needs all of the above, why would Republicans want that to go away? Any guesses?

University of Michigan professor and vice chair of the Michigan Film Advisory Commission Jim Burnstein brings up another good point that is a favorite hammer of the right - keeping the kids in the state.

"My students used to take the first bus out of here after graduating. For the first time since 1995, they believe there is a reason to stay. It's just so ill-timed. These bills are a huge mistake," he said.

The Senate Republican defense? Tom George tries to convince us that they suddenly give a damn about health care for poor people. That's right up there with "we need to pay for tax cuts".

"I'm not for getting rid of the tax credit," George said. "It has brought industry and business to the state. But we won't be able to provide health care to the poor while writing checks to film makers."

Fortunately the Detroit News still has Mike Bishop's $600 million in cuts from 2007 up on the web for the world to see, so we can drop any pretense that the Republicans care about the poor pretty darn quick.

Unless it was a threat of what is to come next. Tipping your hand a bit there, Senator George?