April 7, 2008 -- LANSING - Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed into law legislation designed to grow the film industry in Michigan, setting the stage for hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment that will create jobs in the state. The legislation was proposed by the governor in her State of the State address and is part of an overall economic stimulus plan to grow Michigan's economy and create jobs.
"We're going to grow this industry and in the process, grow our economy and create jobs," Granholm said. "Across the country and around the world, the film industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. We're going to bring some of that investment to Michigan."
Granholm said Michigan's film incentive program is now the most aggressive in the nation. Not only is it designed to increase the number of productions filmed on location in Michigan, it is designed to attract production facilities, grow industry activities that support film production, create jobs, and train workers for those jobs.
"This program is designed to attract studio lots and production houses that will be employing people and growing an industry to support the short-term filming that happens on location," Granholm said. "We've seen the excitement that is generated when a movie is filmed on location, such as ‘Somewhere in Time' on Mackinac Island, ‘Hoffa' in Detroit, ‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight' in the Upper Peninsula, and ‘Road to Perdition' in Saugatuck. We want to turn that excitement into jobs."
Film production incentives in other states have resulted in short- and long-term economic benefits, including investments in infrastructure. Louisiana's film incentives grew spending from $7 million to almost $350 million, supporting 18,882 jobs. Connecticut's production tax credit attracted 66 feature films and $400 million in film expenditures. New Mexico's incentives have grown the industry from $1.5 million to $476 million thanks to projects like Albuquerque Studios, a new $100 million, 500,000 square foot facility that employs up to 2,000 people when productions are in full swing. Granholm said that every dollar spent in film production is expected to generat $1.85 to $3.00 in economic activity in the state.
Michigan's new film program provides incentives for film and digital media production, infrastructure development, financing and workforce development with an emphasis on hiring Michigan workers and filming in Michigan's 103 core communities, urban communities, and traditional centers of commerce. It also provides a number of other incentives for growing the industry in Michigan, including enhancements for the Michigan Film Office.
Specifically, the new laws provide a 40-percent refundable or transferable tax credit for producing films in Michigan, with an added 2-percent rebate for films produced in core communities.
The new laws also provide 25 percent tax credit for film and digital media infrastructure investments for such activities as building studios or purchasing equipment.
Film and digital media production companies are now eligible to receive job creation tax credits issued by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) against MBT liability for the creation of jobs; loans from the Michigan Strategic Fund under the 21st Century Jobs Fund program for up to $15 million per qualifying film and digital media productions in Michigan; loans against film production tax incentives; and are eligible to participate in the capital access program established by the Michigan Strategic Fund under the 21st Century Jobs program.
In an effort to grow the number of film industry jobs in the state, the new laws establish a Film & Digital Media Worker Job Training Tax Credit of 50 percent for expenditures incurred by a production company providing on-the-job training for Michigan residents. Film and digital media companies are allowed free use of state property for film and digital media productions, an option that local governments are allowed to authorize, as well.
The Michigan Film Office, along with the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council, are transferred from the Department of History, Arts and Libraries to the Michigan Strategic Fund, with staff support provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The activities of the film office are supported by a percentage of the application fees for all film-related tax credits along with 50 percent of any state earnings on a loan or investment in a production from the Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund.
The bills were given immediate effect.
2008 Michigan Filming Incentives Application
2008 Michigan Filming Incentives in a Nutshell
Must spend at least $50,000 in Michigan to be eligible.
*40% cash rebate, across the board on Michigan expeditures, with a spending threshold of $50,000
*We will add an extra 2% if the company films in one of the 103 Core Communities in Michigan.
*Labor and Crew: 40%-42% Resident and Above the Line, 30% Non-resident Below the Line.
*There will also be a low interest loan program and an infrastructure tax credit program as well as a workforce development tax credit for hiring and training current MI crewmembers to a higher level.
*The only cap will be a maximum of $2 million salary per employee.
*There is no other cap and no sunset.