Monday, April 13, 2009

Allen Park to Announce New Film and TV Studio Tomorrow

Nancy Cassis apparently was not available for comment, being on vacation and all. Big doings in Allen Park tomorrow, as they will announce a major score on the entertainment front with a new film/TV studio to be built in the area. The 104 acre site will have eight sound stages and do production, post-production and other support. It will occupy part of a former Visteon research facility, and will be a "economic development blockbuster for the city, Wayne County and state".

Details will be announced Tuesday, but preliminary information released by a spokesman for the project said the deal involves investors from Los Angeles and Michigan, and is headed by a Hollywood executive with Michigan roots.

The studio will employ “thousands” of skilled workers, most of them in unionized trades, a spokesman for the project said. Residents of Allen Park and “laid off union workers from across the region will get first shot at the jobs,” the spokesman, Roger Martin, said Monday morning.

And what brought them here?

No new taxes are needed to support the project, Martin said. But the project may qualify for Michigan Economic Development Authority tax incentives. Michigan’s lucrative tax rebates for movie production work, worth up to 42% of qualifying production costs, was essential in getting the project for the state.

"Thousands of jobs" coming to the city. $146 million in investment. Still want to argue that we should cut this business off at the knees?

The Freep also ran a good story over the weekend about how filming locations are still attracting people, bringing tourists and income to local business. These are the kind of things that won't show up on any statistical report, but they are happening, and will continue to happen, if we let them. So, let's back slowly away from trying to cap this opportunity, OK, Mickey? Come back to the light now and stop feeding the people who want to see this fail for their own political reasons.

And for a funny perspective on what is going on in other states regarding film credits, check out Iowa, where Republicans there are arguing for an unlimited credit system, and the Democrats are the ones wanting to put a cap on tax credits.

Republican lawmakers said this would thwart growth if the state caps the tax credits.

"Some want to know how much we spend each year in tax credits," said Mike Tramontina, director of economic development. "Others say that's not money we're spending at all because it's all a gain to the state."

They roll all the economic development credits into one area, so there is a major difference between our system and theirs. But still, it's delicious irony to see this argument flipped on its head when it comes to other states political battles, and, it also serves as a warning that if we don't do this, someone else will - and we can't afford to lose the business.