Proos: End of film credits means more money for roads

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. Sen. John Proos said on Wednesday that a long-running state program will soon be coming to an end.

“The Michigan film incentive program began in 2007 under former Governor Jennifer Granholm and peaked at a cost of $115 million in 2010,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This summer, I voted to stop funding the multi-million-dollar drain on our state’s economy, which provided tax credits to the film industry in an attempt to bring jobs to Michigan. On July 9, Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill to end this ineffective program.”

Public Act 117 of 2015 prevents the Michigan Film Office from operating the film incentive program and from providing funding for direct production and personnel expenditures. The new law also requires the balance of the Michigan Film Promotion Fund after Sept. 30, 2016 to revert to the state’s General Fund after outstanding obligations have been satisfied.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,537 “motion picture and video production jobs” in 2001 — a figure that jumped by only 24 jobs in 2013. During that time, Michigan spent about $494.4 million in the effort to attract films.

A 2010 Senate Fiscal Agency report said that each dollar spent on what were then refundable film tax credits generated only about 60 cents worth of private sector activity and each job directly created by the program cost taxpayers as much as $186,519.

“I supported the budget for the upcoming fiscal year that prioritizes existing taxpayer dollars to fund the road repairs that our state so badly needs,” Proos said. “It includes $400 million in direct road funding without raising taxes on hardworking Southwest Michigan residents. This is on top of the $3.7 billion that we are already spending on roads.

“We must come up with additional funds needed to fix our roads. In light of that important task, I cannot justify continuing the film credit program. Before we unnecessarily burden our citizens with new taxes in order to pave our roads, we must cut programs that do not produce results.”