Senate votes to improve & expand Michigan incentives

In a 32-4 vote, Michigan’s Senate last week approved a bill to extend and improve the state’s film tax credit program, which was limited and reduced in 2011 and set to expire in 2017. The bill is how headed to the House.

Key points of the proposed bill are eliminating a 2017 funding sunset; revising funding caps starting in 2015 and requiring employer organizations providing labor to be organized under Michigan law.

The state’s contribution would be capped at 25%, with another 3% for expenditures at a qualified facility. What’s new is 10% for expenditures at a postproduction facility.

The bill eliminates definitions of Michigan personnel and crew personnel expenditures and combines them into “qualified” expenditures.

“I think it’s pretty straightforward, what we’re doing,” said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a staunch supporter of the film incentives.

“We wanted to revisit this every year or two to make sure that we were staying competitive but not overly competitive with other states, provinces and cities around North America for the most part.”

When productions first started using the credits it was about one Michigan worker to one out-of-state worker, said Pat Dougherty. Now it’s more like 20 Michigan workers for every one out-of-state worker.