With amendments, film incentives bill expects to pass

Michigan moved closer to new film incentives Dec. 1 with the House Commerce Committee revising SB 569 and sending it out of committee with a passing vote of 16-1.

The Film Production Assistance Program bill will return to the Senate for approval of the added amendments and is expected to sail through the full House this week. 

The Committee made several amendments to the bill. The most significant one removes commercials, but another gives a boost to post houses by requiring that 5% of all monies appropriated are designated for postproduction in Michigan.

Three proposed amendments did not make it into the final bill: limiting the incentive to Michigan residents/businesses, limiting incentives to $150,000 instead of $2 million per employees and limiting the grants to no more than the state collected in direct revenue.

The new system would be funded through Michigan taxpayer dollars and the fund is capped at $25 million. The Michigan Film Office will distribute funds through grants; tax break incentives previously were used.

Some highlights of Film Assistance SB 569

• An eligible production company must have direct production expenditures and/or Michigan personnel expenditures of at least $100,000.

• Funding equal to 32% percent of spending on Michigan personnel would be available until 2015. Thereafter the credit would drop to 27% percent.

• Incentive funding would be worth 27% for spending on out-of-state personnel, dropping to 12% in 2015.

• Incentives would cover 27% of a company’s direct production expenditures and a 3% percent incentive bonus for use of a Michigan studio or postproduction facility.

• The Michigan Film Office will operate the new the Film and Digital Media Assistance Program, pay the production company and annually report about the Program to the public.