Saturday, February 19, 2011

Will Hollywood Still Love Michigan Without the Tax Incentives?

Clint Eastwood reacts to news that movies like Gran Torino might be shot somewhere other than Michigan if tax credits for filming in the state are eliminated.

Michigan has attracted more than 100 TV and film productions since 2008, but that could all be changing soon. Richard Verrier of The Los Angeles Times reports:

Like the Clint Eastwood character in the Detroit-area-set movie "Gran Torino," the new governor of Michigan is telling Hollywood to get off his lawn.

Rick Snyder, a Republican who was elected governor of the Great Lakes State on a platform to curb spending, wants to gut Michigan's film tax credit program, one of the most generous in the country. In his $45-billion budget plan, unveiled Thursday, Snyder proposed reducing or eliminating various state tax credits, including those awarded for filming.

If approved by the state's legislature, the move would be a blow to Hollywood, which has flocked to Michigan in recent years to take advantage of the generous tax break. Snyder has proposed setting aside a meager $25 million for film incentives from a jobs fund. In 2010, Michigan approved more than $100 million in film tax credits.


  1. My first impulse is to say this is short sighted. The last thing we need is to give outsiders another reason to NOT come to Michigan. Then again, I've never really seen any evidence that these incentives actually help the state. Anyone have any good info?

  2. Michigan is not alone in considering the elimination of tax credits for Hollywood:

  3. Good question....most of the films seem to feed the stereotype of Michigan and Detroit as depressed.

  4. I can't give you any statistical data on how much money was brought into the state but I can tell you that because of the influx of movie $$ into the economy a new studio was built in Pontiac with the hopes of attracting more film work. I can also tell you that many young people are taking up telecommunications and film production in college with the hope of staying in state to practice their profession. And wasn't that the goal of doing this in the first place?
    The only complaint I have heard from those working with this industry is that there should be a requirement that to get this credit more than half of those hired should be from in-state.

  5. I'm not so concerned with how the films make Michigan look. I'm wondering if this is one of those cuts that seems bad, but if you look at the numbers it's not such a big deal. Maybe the tax breaks are costing more than the economic benefits of having films made here. It seems like it's worth it, but you never know.


    For every $1 spent by the film companies, local businesses make $6. I'd say it's worth it.


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