Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saving Michigan's Movie Industry

Odd couple. Did you ever think that you would see Kid Rock and Governor Granholm together in a video?

Thus starts the battle to save Michigan's movie incentives. Rumors are swirling again that we might cap the credits, and rumors alone might be enough to scare people away, unfortunately.

We do know that the $50 million cap on tax credits that's part of Cassis' proposal would kill the whole goose, because how can you budget a project knowing that someone else might beat you to the only available money? As Johnson put it, that's like buying a car with a rebate and then finding out the only check went to the last guy who bought one.

Droz can tick down a list of intriguing projects and businesses headed our way. A producer wants to open an office overseeing 10 movies in three years, and if most of them won't appeal to anyone over 17, who cares? A video game company says it's relocating a dozen staffers and hiring 20 more people once it gets here.

He can also tell you about the puzzled, panicked or perturbed phone calls from producers who hear grumblings about caps and cuts and wonder what they can count on. "Are you guys in or out?" asks the voice from California. "Is there a cap, or not?"

No, there isn't. None of the bills have made it out of committee. Assuming one does, it's not likely to pass. Assuming it passes, Granholm has already said she'll drop it on the cutting-room floor.

It wouldn't surprise me to see it trimmed back in the upcoming budget battle. Just as long as we stay ahead of the rest of the country, we will be OK - but lawmakers better make sure that producers are aware that we are still number one. We go below Louisiana, and we are finished.

Don't blow this, Lansing.