Michigan’s Film Incentives, Do They Work?

November 15, 2010 -

An issue paper published by Michigan’s Senate Fiscal Agency examined the state’s film incentive program and stated that the economic enticements “represent lost revenue and do not generate sufficient private sector activity to offset their costs completely.”

Authored by economist David Zin, the paper (PDF) imparts a belief that tax breaks (which also apply to videogame makers) have “generally exhibited” a positive impact on the private sector, at least in terms of creating jobs and generating income, he added, “Any probable impact from the film incentives is likely to have a negligible impact on economic activity in Michigan, particularly when the economy is viewed as a whole.”

Zin’s analysis prompted Jim Burnstein, Vice Chairman of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council and head of the screenwriting program at University of Michigan, to write an impassioned defense of the incentives.

Burnstein discussed how his students at UM typically depart for New York or Los Angeles upon graduating, as “Virtually none of them were inspired by my example that you could live and work here (Michigan).”

Among those Burnstein listed as fleeing the Wolverine State is Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, himself a graduate of the Ann Arbor-based school in the 1980s.

Burnstein wrote:

We educated all of these individuals in Michigan and lost them. How many jobs did they create, and how many tax dollars went with them? We simply cannot afford to export our creative class any longer.

The tax incentive defender went on to praise the ripple effect of such legislation, noting that businesses like “dry cleaners, florists, gas stations, hardware stores, trash haulers, even porta-potty providers who are not just surviving, but thriving, thanks to our incentives. “

Burnstein said that backers of Michigan film incentives took “more of a Ronald Reagan approach” to the legislation, adding that the purpose was “to make the people, not the government, rich.”

Michigan’s film incentives were enacted in 2008. Burnstein notes that in 2007, Michigan had three films shot in its territory at a cost of $2 million total. The last nine months of 2008 saw 38 projects spending $125 million, while in 2009, 43 projects shot in Michigan, spending $223.6 million.


 
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quiknkoldhttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/B0wOJ4MCIAA8-YW.png yeah.... this isnt helping anybody.10/24/2014 - 8:20pm
E. Zachary KnightAE: some devs here in Oklahoma got accepted to make WiiU games. They are college kids who haven't graduated and are making games out of their dorms. They deserve it too.10/24/2014 - 6:25pm
MechaTama31CMiner: Raising such a concern now would get you branded as a GGer regardless of whether you're actually waving the flag or not.10/24/2014 - 6:19pm
Andrew EisenMore on how Nintendo runs the eShop today (no parity clause, no concept approval, devs can run sales when they want, indies don't need an office): http://www.develop-online.net/news/nintendo-eshop-has-no-parity-clause/019921110/24/2014 - 6:13pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: https://www.reddit.com/r/eyebleach (Seriously. If you ever need pictures of kittens, and the like).10/24/2014 - 3:58pm
Andrew EisenDammit, now I'm all depressed. I must find pictures of kittens.10/24/2014 - 2:38pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.businessinsider.com/shooting-at-pilchuck-high-school-in-marysville-washington-2014-1010/24/2014 - 2:15pm
Andrew EisenIn case anyone was wondering, Nintendo's eShop no longer does that "you don't make money until you've sold x units" thing. http://www.develop-online.net/news/nintendo-no-minimum-sales-needed-for-eshop-revenues/019921010/24/2014 - 1:52pm
MaskedPixelanteGOG needs better web developers. Someone dug into their countdown timer, found numbers using fonts from Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Monkey Island, and pretty much confirmed that LucasArts is coming on Tuesday.10/24/2014 - 1:43pm
Papa MidnightI've seen glowing reviews for Bayonetta 2 so far.10/24/2014 - 1:17pm
Andrew EisenI'm not picking up Bayonetta. Today. Tomorrow's not looking good either. I'll get it eventually though!10/24/2014 - 12:23pm
Infophile@MP: No it doesn't. You're a terrible human being for completely unrelated reasons. (/snark)10/24/2014 - 12:15pm
MaskedPixelantePicked up Bayonetta 2, which according to Polygon means I am now a terrible human being.10/24/2014 - 11:58am
Matthew Wilsonofcourse not he did a video on the new civ game just yesterday.10/24/2014 - 10:32am
Papa MidnightYou think a bit of cancer surgery would keep The Cynical Brit from railing about bad PC ports? Not a chance! :)10/24/2014 - 10:15am
Matthew Wilsonmight be a bit soon only becouse he got out of cancer surgery last week, but ask his email is public.10/24/2014 - 9:56am
Papa MidnightHell, set up a Google Hangout or Skype call, and I'll be happy to join in.10/24/2014 - 9:34am
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CMinerThere is no journalism/ethics concern that you've raised that would be made weaker by not raising it under the umbrella of GamerGate.10/24/2014 - 9:32am
CMinerNeo: You want to start some healing? Stop using the GamerGate hashtag. Even if you don't believe that it originated with harassers, you have to see that it's been irrevocably tainted by their actions.10/24/2014 - 9:31am
 

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