Michigan House Republicans
Opinion: Why not Michigan? A case for multimedia investments
RELEASE|February 26, 2024
Contact: John Roth

The birth of streaming services has pushed multimedia production into overdrive. More movies, TV shows, music videos and commercials are being made now than ever before. Why shouldn’t a good portion of that multimedia production happen in beautiful Michigan?

We’re not giving production companies any reason to come. They’re still producing; they’re just not doing it here. As of 2022, at least 35 other states offer a version of multimedia tax incentives. Many states are experiencing so much success that they’re considering expanding their programs.

The longer we go without seriously considering multimedia tax incentives, the further behind we get. Picture the Super Bowl next year: The Lions are playing some lesser AFC opponent when the broadcast begins a commercial break. Why shouldn’t the Ford or Chevy ad feature a new model crossing the Mackinac Bridge? Imagine a music video shot in Grand Rapids or an adventure film featuring the Upper Peninsula wilderness.

I’m proud to spearhead the bipartisan multimedia incentive plan with my colleague Jason Hoskins, D-Southfield, to make projects like these happen. Through multimedia, we are making a good-faith attempt to bring business and people to Michigan.

Our plan would re-establish the Michigan Film Office and create a transferable tax credit for Michigan-based projects. To be eligible, companies would have to keep track of the individuals they hire from the state to work on the project, maintain Michigan receipts and which vendors they work with and other economic data. After 10 years, the program would end unless lawmakers agree to extend it.

Critics say that, because the program didn’t work at first, we should close shop and stop trying forever. But just because something doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean you write it off as a complete failure and give up. I didn’t teach my kids to think like that.

The system, as it used to exist, was flawed. Production companies would come to Michigan, shoot their movies and leave to produce the films elsewhere. Our plan ensures that, if multimedia companies leave, they won’t keep getting the incentive.

The last program was an unverified rebate. It was going to fail from the beginning. I watched money leave the state with the film shot at Bowers Harbor — that isn’t going to happen again. We completely rebuilt the program from the ground up. It is built with the most effective policies from programs across the country.

Some critics say multimedia tax incentives involve too much government intervention. But they refuse to shake their tunnel vision and see the whole picture: If we can successfully implement these credits, the possibilities are endless. Folks from all over the country would see Michigan’s beautiful outdoors and vibrant city life and, hopefully, be encouraged to come check it out.

That indirect advertising could encourage people to move here. If they do, they would have Michigan jobs, shop at Michigan stores, eat at Michigan restaurants and pay Michigan taxes.

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