Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rick Snyder Would Eliminate Incentives for Michigan's Film Industry

This was the front page of mlive's Grand Rapids Press site as of 8:26PM last night.

Notice the sad irony? From the story on the Ben Stiller movie, jobs and money are already flowing into the Grand Rapids area:

"30 Minutes or Less," a movie to be produced by Ben Stiller and directed by "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer, will start filming primarily in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas this summer, said Rick Hert of the West Michigan Film Office.

Filming will last through mid-October.

Hert says the comedic heist movie -- to be distributed by Columbia Pictures, as reported by IMDBPro -- likely will boast the largest budget of any produced thus far in West Michigan since the inception of state film tax credits in 2007. He said "The Chaos Experiment," the largest budgeted film since the incentive, ran around $5 million.

"This is the largest production and crew to come to Grand Rapids and West Michigan in the history of the film incentives," Hert said. "(Though) not as a state."

Filming spots will include outdoor locations. Already, Hert said a "substantial amount of office space" in Grand Rapids has been rented by a crew that has been in town for multiple weeks, scouting locations and leaving informational letters with venue owners.


Hert said the West Michigan Tourism Association and the Grand Rapids/Kent County Visitors Bureau predict between 5,000 to 7,000 room nights will be utilized based on the size of this production and the duration of filming.

"We're fortunate to have this production in town," Hert said. "It's an important economic opportunity for us."

Better get it while it lasts. If "The Nerd" has his way, this "important economic opportunity" would be taking place in Georgia or Louisiana - oddly enough, red states that apparently have smarter Republicans than we do.

The state film tax credit is another program, Snyder said, that needs eliminating. The current system allows film companies to receive up to a 42 percent tax credit for filming in Michigan.

"It simply can't work at that level," he said. "The government is not qualified to pick winners and losers. That's a case of the government being short-sighted."

Getting rather tired of the trite catch phrase "picking winners and losers". The Republicans are more than willing to pick winners and losers when it comes to education, health care, public safety - and cutting the wages of lower and middle class working folks. Just last night three of the five held a debate, and they are calling for more tax cuts for business, and more pay cuts for you. Ready to go back to Bush economics?

And interestingly enough, Snyder said the state needs to emphasize "arts and culture" to create cities that are attractive to young people (sound familiar?), but he would eliminate the one industry that has the most potential of attracting the creative class to this state.

We've got a real good thing going here, a new industry that will help to diversify our economy and keep young people at home. Republicans want to put an end to that, and send that business elsewhere. If we are smart, we won't let that happen.