Michigan Pushing Ahead on Tax Breaks for Games, Movies

March 14, 2008 -
Although Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) unsuccessfully tried to legislate video game content in 2005, she now hopes to sign into law a bill that would provide tax incentives for film and video game production in Michigan.

As reported by WILX-10, a proposal now before the state legislature would offer a 40% state tax credit or an equal rebate on production costs. Rep. Andy Meisner (D), who chairs the Commerce Committe for Michigan's House of Representatives, said:
We have an opportunity to do something that will provide an immediate stimulus to our ailing economy.

Although movies are the main focus of the Michigan legislation, the bill will also cover video game development, television productions, commercials and Internet programs. 

Comments

Re: Michigan Pushing Ahead on Tax Breaks for Games, Movies

Honestly, I doubt there is much on the controll what is made for your tax break on video game creation.

If someone can make a movie on mahem and destruction.....and still get a tax break, the same rules will apply to video games.

Sweet, my governor is doing something worthwhile, and doing it well. Maybe this will breath some new life into my state.

Good to read a politician is taking games seriously now.

If you can't beat them, offer them tax incentives.

0.o

Hasnt' it occured to anyone that these tax breaks might be backdoors for controlling the industry?

"If you don't clean up your act and make games the way we want you to we'll yank your tax-break!"

Call me a paranoiac, but with all the whipping and beating that games have taken over the last few years I don't think it's outside the realm of reality.

WOOHOO! Right now it's painful for anyone in either of those two industries to find any type of work out here. I moved here from Los Angeles while my wife goes to grad school out here, and I was forced from the game/film industry back into IT.

@Werrick

Aw c'mon. We all know that in order to get the tax break, TV and Games would have to cut a few corners. It's been that way since the dawn of time. Wanna get the benefits, you follow their turf.

Look, if I said I was going to make a game where I shoot politicians, do you think they'd let me have that tax break? Honestly.

Besides, this is good for everyone else. I mean honestly, I don't think the government would mind if game developers want to make games in the same vein as Patapon, Professor Layton, Katamari etc.

DarrelBT said;

"Aw c’mon. We all know that in order to get the tax break, TV and Games would have to cut a few corners. It’s been that way since the dawn of time. Wanna get the benefits, you follow their turf."

Well... isn't that just simply another way to censor freedom of speech? This basically means that they have influence and control, even if only to a relatively limited degree, over the amount of profit any game developer can make.

Or... you're being very subtly sarcastic and I completely missed it.

I'm already writing my State Rep to support this legislation here in Michigan. I suggest everyone else here from Michigan do the same.

*Full disclosure* I am a co-owner of a small indie game company. This would help us alot, and it would also help Stardock and other game companies here in Michigan.

Looks like good news to me, even if the tax breaks do come with "make games we like" rules.

People don't have to take the tax breaks, they can still make the game they want. Any form of benefit, subsidy or payment comes with the idea that if you make the person giving you money you might lose it, this is just the same in reverse.

Not quite, Werrick.

Especially since you don't HAVE to have the tax break. Sure, it sounds great, but like you said, you'd probably have to do what THEY want.

Besides, if you wanted to make a game and don't want to be hassled by the man, the LAST thing you should demand is a tax break from them to make your game. After all, if you don't want them hassling you, why ask a favour from them?

Also, like Dracis said. Stardock (GalCiv2 and Sins of a Solar Empire) would defintely beneft from this tax break, and from what I've seen, there's nothing in their games that the government wouldn't like.

I think the only issue is if you wanted to make gasmes like "25 to Life" and "187 Ride or Die". Then again, those games sucked balls.

DarrenTB said;

"Especially since you don’t HAVE to have the tax break. Sure, it sounds great, but like you said, you’d probably have to do what THEY want. "

These same governments want to regulate games. It's not long before tax breaks become synonymous with funding or sponsorship. This same governor wanted to legislate games and we all know the games she's talking about. Now she's offering tax breaks...

That doesn't smell fishy to you?

You don't see the possibility of the state wanting to review the games to make sure they meet whatever standards they have (take a minute to run through the titles that have been criticised and why...) to decide whether to grant the break or not?

In a way it is a way to control the industry, but michigan's economy is in tthe tubes, theres no way they'll shoot themselves in the foot just to say "hehe we cotrol j00r games!"

As long as developers are not FORCED to make educational games that no one wants, then it should be ok

But I will be wary of this and try to find the fine detail about what kinds of games a developer could make,

they should be comerical games that cover everything from E to M rated games,

If the tax proposal says, "Make M rated game then you don't get tax break" then I would be suspicious...

I doubt it'll work. You want to know one of the BIG problems WHY we're doing so bad? It's because the auto industries are leaving Michigan.

As for the controlling the industry, we don't have the money to control shit! We NEED some kind of industry here, anything! That's why she's doing this, because have you seen our unemployment?

I can see them using the tax breaks for a little backdoor control, but I wouldn't worry too much. If they have a problem with the game, you can always point to some massively successful game like Halo, God of War, Bioshock, Final Fantasy, or whatever other game is along the same genre or mood of your game. I imagine that might work.

Besides they should offer the tax break to all games regardless of the content. Otherwise its not a tax break, its a sponsorship.

Just a few weeks ago, the Canadian government tried to institute new funding guidelines for movies so that "overly violent or sexual content" would be grounds to deny funding. The outcry from the industry has been incredible -- Sandra Oh opened the recent Genie Awards ceremony by speaking out against the plan, and I'm fairly certain the tories are going to drop it. I'm sure any company in Michigan (gaming or otherwise) would raise similar concerns if this new break was given similar treatment, so it probably won't be an issue. After all, "Videodrome" was produced with tax credits, and it was practically the Manhunt of its time.
---
Fangamer

I don't trust Granholm on this.

This new bill reeks of governance by poll numbers. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Now cue up the NIMF and other crazies to release press releases on how Michigan pols are "taking a stand against families".

And by Michigan, Granholm means Detroit.

Zerodash:

Replace "NIMF" with PTC, because what you said is more likelt what the PTC would do. THe NIMF won't do that (strangely enough)

As long as we get to tell you what to do, we'll be happy to take your money.

I hate politicians.

@Werrick

this is more likely an attempt to create new jobs, gm and buick are leaving. if she cant replace those lost jobs fast (michigan really is in a bad economic slump) she will find out how bad the job market is when she is thrown out of office! (she started by bringing google into michigan awhile back)

no poliics here really just try to get any company thats hiring into michigan

YAY! TAX INCENTIVES!

As for the idea that this is a trick, protecting the money is more important than protecting the children.

I guess our soil wasn't totally poisoned by stupidity after all.

I heard about this a little bit, i think on the radio. Michigan needs all the businesses they can get at this time, since most of the motor companies/factories are kinda moving out. Michigan's basically heading towards depression, so i could see why they'd want to give incentives. Or we could've done the smart thing and voted Devos in when we had the chance...

dont blame me i didnt vote for her

Reminds me of a tramatizing episode of Murray where a obese black lady was mad at her husband for cheating on her and yelled into the camera, "Tricks are for kids b....". Yes, that would probably descibe this tax break. Anyway, companies should take the first tax break and then do whatever.

she is also trying to get jobs in michigan which the state and the city of detroit need BADLY. i know i live there.
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