Bringing back film tax breaks equals jobs

It’s not often we venture off on topics not totally Hamtramck-centric, at least when it comes to our own editorials.
But this subject does resonate with a number of residents.
Once, just a few short years ago, Michigan’s film industry “steamed like a young man’s dreams.”
Then, the whole thing broke apart and sank like the old Eddie Fitzgerald.
This was in the state’s cinematic “golden age” of 2008-2011, thanks to then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s pushing through of a newly conceived film credit program, with support from both political parties in Lansing.
Back in 2008, the deal became the most generous in the country, returning up to 42 percent of a film’s costs.
There was some justified criticism that the deal was a tad bit too generous.
So the deal was tweaked, and from that point forward, film productions were pouring in. Michigan, besides boasting of plenty of homegrown talent, also has a lot to offer scenery-wise: urban (even urban decay), suburban (even vacant malls), unique architecture, rural rolling hills, spring, summer, fall and winter, sand dunes, forests, large and small bodies of water, sun, gray-doomy days, and somewhere in between – we got it!
Talent-wise, the state (including Hamtramck) has plenty of top-grade actors, writers, musicians, sound studios, make-up artists, hair stylists, vintage clothing shops (for period clothing), location scouts, production assistants, and all-around characters.
Large studios were once being built or planned but all over the metro area, from Pontiac to Wixom to Allen Park.
Of course, other states – heck, even Puerto Rico – sat up and took notice. By 2009, just one year after our credit program rolled out, 44 other states and territories offered some level of incentive package.
And then, the governorship changed hands, and the political winds changed. Hollywood money went up in smoke. People lost jobs.
They lost paychecks.
Now, there’s a call out to revive the idea once again. The feeling here is, it’s a great idea – but many may be once bitten, twice shy, both locally and where the money decisions are made — on the coasts.
We would love to see a practical, well-thought-through and permanent (or at least, say, 20-year) deal put in place to bring the movies back to Michigan.
Among the many other benefits, these programs have shown to boost tourism, by promoting the state as a player itself on the big screens — all over the world.
So what do you say, Michigan legislators:
Posted May 6, 2022

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