Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Posted by Jim Ross at 3:14 PM
Posted by Jim Ross at 3:03 PM
Posted by Jim Ross at 2:52 PM
State’s film tax credit lifts small businesses, excites imaginations
When he sponsored the bill that would, when adopt ed in April 2008, make Michi gan the most generous state in the nation for movie pro ducers, Andy Meisner had three objectives: creating jobs as quickly as possible in the depths of our economic melt down; growing longer-term a new industry that could some day account for perhaps 5% of the state economy, and re taining creative, educated young people who were looking to pursue their fu tures outside Michigan.
And by those objectives, Meisner said, the movie tax credit is not only a success but a bigger one than most of the much less visible tax breaks and incentives the state provides for other busi nesses — about $36 billion worth last year, including the $37.5 million for the movie, TV and video industry.
A bipartisan idea
Meisner, now the elected Oakland County treasurer, was a Democratic state repre sentative in his final term when he worked with state Sen. Jason Allen, a Republican from Petoskey, to as semble the movie tax pack age, which passed the Legisla ture with only one vote against, from Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi.
“We have literally billions of dollars in various tax ex penditures, exemptions and credits that have been grant ed, many of which do not deliver the desired outcome,” Meisner said. “While the state coffers may never be fully replenished from the film tax credits, this was never about making money for the state.”
But with the next governor facing a $1.6-billion budget hole and unemployment ex pected to remain well into double digits, can Michigan really afford to give away money to have movies shot here?
Cassis’ continuing skepti cism was fueled by last week’s report from the state Senate Fiscal Agency. The report asserted that the expenditure of $100 million through movie tax credits has generated less than $60 million in economic activity. But the term-limited Cassis is doubtful a lame-duck Legislature will do anything about the credits in the bal ance of this year. To next year’s incoming crowd, how ever, they may look like low hanging fruit to throw at that budget deficit.
I hope not. I prefer to see them as seeds that sprouted quickly but will never grow into sturdy timbers of the state economy without time and tending. Given the flighty nature of the movie business, just the chatter about chang ing the rules might spur pro ducers to seek a better deal elsewhere.
Infrastructure for films
Developers are working to build a foundation for the industry here, including the construction of studios and postproduction facilities.
Schools are getting up to speed on the education need ed for jobs in film, video and video game production. And movie makers are slowly get ting more comfortable using local talent. They are, by all accounts, enormously pleased with the locations and the work ethic here and, of course, the tax break.
There are countless stories of businesses that got a quick shot in the arm from having a movie company around — a coffee shop that was repaired and repainted for a scene, a secondhand store that had its best sales day ever when the wardrobe people came in to shop, a local bistro that got a boost from a movie star on karaoke night.
And there are the intangi bles — the movies have given our collective psyche a boost amid our economic woes, something to talk about, even participate in. They greatly expanded Michigan’s pres ence on the national and glob al stage, too. Nothing calls attention to your world-class airport quite the way George Clooney can.
Movies are never going to replace the auto industry as Michigan’s economic main stay. But if we stick with what we’ve started and allow it to grow, they can — along with batteries, solar shingles, wind turbines and biomedical breakthroughs — be a solid and exciting part of Michi gan’s future. We’ve spent a lot more to get back a lot less.
Posted by Jim Ross at 10:22 AM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Partnership for 21st Century Skills (Video Contest 2010 Winners)
Posted by Jim Ross at 4:11 PM