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Michigan House committee OKs film program incentives

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(The Center Square) –A Michigan House Committee approved bills aiming to resurrect a taxpayer-funded film incentive program.

The Multimedia Jobs Act aims to give a 30% tax credit to Michigan companies that hire Michiganders. The bill sets a base 25% tax credit for in-state spending with an extra 5% awarded for including the words “filmed in Michigan,” “Pure Michigan,” “Michigan Film & Digital Media Office,” and the MiFIA logo.

The House Economic and Small Business Development Committee approved House Bills 4907 and 4908, introduced by Rep. John Roth, R-Interlochen, and Rep. Jason Hoskins, D-Southfield.

Under the bill, production companies must commit to spending at least $50,000 for commercial photography, advertising commercials for projects less than 20 minutes or at least $300,000 for productions more than 20 minutes.

The new program would support film production using Michiganders and Michigan products. In the old, repealed film tax program, movies filmed in Michigan were often staffed using actors from out-of-state, Roth previously said in a phone interview with The Center Square.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, and Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, introduced similar bills via Senate Bills 438-439.

Earlier this month, Polehanki called on lawmakers to enact the program.

“Hello?!?! Michigan could ALSO have a film and TV industry,” Polehanki posted on social media. “Pass the Multimedia Jobs Act!”

James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, opposed the incentive program.

“Michigan lawmakers are voting to take over $2 billion from taxpayers to give to movie producers,” Hohman said in a statement. “The changes made to the program demonstrate that its sponsors learned all the wrong lessons from its $500 million failure the last time around. The rest of the Legislature should recognize that there are better ways to improve the state economy.”

The bills move to the full House.

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