Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Republicans Now Crying Over the Film Industry Milk They Spilled

Remember how the Republicans sent the film industry away? Follow that link for a detailed refresher course if you must; just know that thousands of jobs and millions of dollars left the state before the ink was dry on the budget that slashed our incentives. They were warned the industry would leave, and in their arrogance to rush through the budget process and drop their "atomic bomb" on Lansing, they didn't care.

Now Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville wants to blame others for the mess that he, Snyder, and the Republican Legislature made of our once rapidly growing movie business. (Is there something about that position that turns people into irresponsible crybabies, or what? Maybe an exorcism is in order.) First he takes a shot at MEDC:

Two big movies that were set to be filmed in Michigan are going elsewhere, and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville is blaming Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration for botching a $20 million deal with Disney and Marvel Films.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reported that Richardville, a Republican, is complaining that the Snyder administration, through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, mishandled negotiations and, as a result, two major contracts were lost.

“I have a bill that kind of defines new parameters for film credits,” said Richardville. “We negotiated, the administration did, far below those parameters, and we lost it. So, it’s a disappointment to say the least.”

You "have a bill" that "kind of" defines the parameters. Kind of? Really? That a new legislative term these days? We're going to "kind of" define the budget from now on? Interesting. Still, you haven't passed your "kind of" bill. You set our film incentives at $25 million a year, period. That's it. And then you took the summer off. You tied the hands of MEDC and the Film Office with that law, and now you want to say that they were allowed to negotiate over what the budget called for? So you could, what, turn around later and claim they "overspent"?

No. You don't get to have it both ways. You either pass your new bill, or you stick with the law and the budget you - yes, you, Senator Richardville - made. And guess what. You don't get to try to low-ball major studios on your offers and expect them to just take the deal. They aren't Michigan citizens, they don't have to live under your every whim and command. They will go where they are welcomed.

The Hollywood studio had sought between $20 million to $30 million in incentives to film in Michigan, but the Michigan Film Office initially offered just $13 million, causing Marvel to launch talks with other states, said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.

The Michigan Film Office upped its offer to $20 million, matching North Carolina, according to Richardville, who tried to attract the movie to the state. But he said Marvel chose to film in North Carolina because it guaranteed the money whereas Michigan's deal was contingent on future legislative approval. Marvel did not return several requests seeking comment.

"They were more prepared than we were to win that deal," said Richardville, who was critical of the Michigan Film Office's handling of the negotiations. "We were seen as a real player and this is a real blow to that reputation."

No, we aren't seen as a "real player" on major blockbuster movies. Not anymore. They left months ago. Thanks to you. So, go ahead and blame MEDC, blame the Film Office, blame your momma, no one is buying it. Republicans killed the film industry in Michigan. You own this.

But as "Iron Man 3" shows, Hollywood doesn't like to deal with any uncertainty when it comes to incentives.

And here's another fun fact: Business development is not going to wait on the Legislature, either. This thought that anyone who wants a piece of our yearly $100 million in economic tax credits will have to go and do a song and dance for your committees (and campaign coffers?) down in Lansing will cost us jobs in the long run, just like the example above. Those companies are going to go to the places that roll out the red carpet and give them assurance - and there are many, many of those that will be happy to take the jobs and investment away from us.

So, maybe a little attitude adjustment is in order. Michigan Republicans may be able to bully the people of this state, but the rest of the world isn't going to put up with their pompous behavior. They'll just laugh, and roll their eyes, and do the deals with the states and countries who treat them with respect.

One thing is for certain though: Michigan Republicans will always find someone else to blame for their own incompetence. Pretty sure it's written in their party platform. Maybe someday the public will finally get a clue.

2012 sounds like a good year to start, doesn't it?