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Film Incentive Legislation Introduced in State Legislature

On Tuesday, the a bicameral, bipartisan legislation investing in Michigan workers and the economy was introduced in the State Legislature.

According to the Michigan Film Industry Association, the legislation creates a two-tiered tax credit which provides incentives for Michigan-produced commercials, film, television and streaming productions.

They say the legislation comes at a time when, “Over 39 states offer film incentives and, in turn, receive the jobs, economic boost and related upstream, downstream and peripheral benefits from a multi-billion-dollar industry.”

The bills were introduced by Senators Adam Hollier, D- Detroit, and Wayne Schmidt, R- Traverse City, along with Representatives Kyra Bolden, D- Southfield, and Jack O’Malley, R- Lake Ann, to create jobs and retain Michigan talent.

The initiative, according to the Michigan Film Industry Association, positions Michigan as an, “attractive location for film, commercials and the booming need for streaming content.”

“This is about Michigan jobs,” stated Sen. Hollier. “As we witness the devastation and business losses from the pandemic, we know that attracting an industry that reinvented itself amid the crisis is a wise investment in our state’s economy and its workers.”

“Bringing the film industry back to Michigan will create more jobs and boost Michigan’s economy,” said Rep. Bolden. “Michiganders will be proud when movies made about icons like Aretha Franklin and Motown can be made right here in Detroit.”

The legislation gives preference to Michigan-based companies who hire Michiganders.

Other specifics of the legislation includes the following:

  • A base tax credit starting at 25% for in-state spending with an additional 5% awarded for the inclusion of a “filmed in Michigan” logo;
  • A commitment from production companies to spend at least $50,000 for a single commercial campaign or project under 20 minutes or at least $300,000 for productions over 20 minutes;
  • A 30% tax credit for hiring Michigan residents and 20% for nonresidents;
  • A requirement that qualified Michigan vendors provide proof of brick-and-mortar presence, have inventory and full-time employees on staff. Pass-through companies and transactions will not
    qualify;
  • Accountability requirements for independent verification of approved expenditures.

“The incentives will provide direct economic benefits to Michigan communities,” stated Sen. Schmidt. “Many states can attest to the fact that film incentives spur additional investment and create jobs and training programs, boost local businesses and retain talent.”

“Film production is a manufacturing industry that depends on labor and a range of supporting goods and services to survive,” says Rep. O’Malley. “This well-crafted and competitive film incentive program will attract new industry opportunities to our state and support Michigan’s talent base and labor force.”

Senate bills SB 862-863 now go to the Senate Economic and Small Business Development Committee while House Bills HB 5724-5725 are headed to the House Commerce and Tourism Committee.