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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Matthew Wilsonbut thats just it those sites, even the small ones, sell all over the country.09/23/2014 - 11:12am
Neenekoeither that or it would follow the car model of today. big ticket items are taxed according to your residence, not where you buy them.09/23/2014 - 11:07am
NeenekoI doubt it would be the retailer that handles the tax in the first place. If it goes through it would probably be folded in as a service on the processor end or via 'turbotax' style applications.09/23/2014 - 11:05am
Matthew Wilsonsimple there are over 10k tax areas in the us for sales tax. it would be impossible for small online retailers to handle that.09/23/2014 - 10:55am
IanCWhats wrong with charging tax in an online shop?09/23/2014 - 10:47am
E. Zachary KnightI don't see why it would be that difficult to maintain one. Especially for a news outlet with multiple people on the payroll.09/23/2014 - 9:37am
Matthew Wilsonthey can, but will they? more inportantly will the traditional sites be willing to do the extra work to maintain the list?09/23/2014 - 9:02am
E. Zachary KnightSo how will it reduce the power of the traditional games press? They can create curated stores too.09/23/2014 - 8:39am
Matthew WilsonI think its a good thing, but it does mean traditional games press will have less power than ever before. To be fair most of the gaming press were never big on pc gaming anyways.09/23/2014 - 8:33am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, is that a bad or good thing?09/23/2014 - 7:43am
MechaTama31When you say "youtuber", I picture some sort of customizable potato...09/22/2014 - 10:48pm
Matthew Wilsonthis change will only give youtubers more power.09/22/2014 - 9:54pm
prh99Steam has added a curator system. You can follow your favorites and see their recommendations http://store.steampowered.com/curators/09/22/2014 - 9:07pm
MaskedPixelantePlus there's the whole "we don't use accounts" thing that means if you lose your 3DS and have to get a new one, you have to deal with Nintendo customer service to get your downloads back instead of, you know, logging in and downloading them.09/22/2014 - 8:39pm
MonteIndeed. Their wallet system, the lack of sales, applying tax, the lack of price cuts, the eshop is pretty terrible. Only use it for indie games.09/22/2014 - 8:29pm
Andrew EisenThat's the one I'm eyeballing. Really dug the demo. Didn't care as much for EOIV though.09/22/2014 - 8:19pm
MaskedPixelanteOoh, an Atlus sale, it must be a day that ends in "y". I'd much rather get physical 3DS games because of Nintendo's outdated digital distribution policies, but EOU is near impossible to find anywhere nowadays... conflicted.09/22/2014 - 7:48pm
Andrew EisenOooh, Atlus sale in the 3DS eShop. I might have to bust open my piggy bank. http://www.siliconera.com/2014/09/22/shin-megami-tensei-iv-atlus-games-sale/09/22/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.pcgamer.com/2014/09/23/steam-update/ steam finally adds content Curation. I like that the user can pick which peoples recommendations they want to see.09/22/2014 - 7:16pm
MaskedPixelanteNintendo put three dual-gendered characters in Smash Bros 4.09/22/2014 - 7:13pm
 

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