Committee recommends end of state film subsidies

By Dave Herndon

Last week the State House Tax Policy Committee voted 8-3 to advance a bill to the House floor that will end state subsidies to film producers.

The Committee moved House Bill 4122 on with a recommendation to pass it.

Over the seven years since the subsidies were introduced the state has spent about $500 million on the tax breaks and subsidies provided to the film industry. Advocates for keeping the subsidies argue that local business across the state have benefitted financially from the program.

Among those that weighed in on cancelling the program were representatives from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Both groups claim that the industry has had little or no impact on full time jobs created in the state.

The current state budget has $50 million allocated for film subsidies. Gov. Rick Snyder has recommended the same amount next year, but is also on the record saying the program should be ended.

Three representatives from Downriver are on the committed. Rep. Pat Somerville (R-New Boston) voted in favor, Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe) voted against and Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park) abstained from the vote. All three no votes came from the Democrats on the committee.

The local area has had some film productions in the area that took advantage of the program. “Machine Gun Preacher,” starring Gerard Butler filmed in Melvindale and the Christina Ricci vehicle “War Flowers,” was filmed at the now defunct Unity Studios in Allen Park.

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