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Roads kill Michigan film incentive

State legislature slashes $50 million budgeted for film program

Ben Affleck on the set of "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" on August 9, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.
Ben Affleck on the set of "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" on August 9, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Paul Warner/GC Images)

LANSING, Mich. – Insiders had told Local 4 more than a year ago this day was coming, and now it's official: the state legislature has voted to end the film incentive.

Currently Michigan shells out $50 million a year to pay moviemakers to come here. When it was originally passed into law in 2008 Michigan offered hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives. That had been scaled way back and capped at $50 million.

No more. The state's road and infrastructure crisis made the incentive low-hanging fruit to cut.

"The film credit was very easy to cut. You know, it's unfortunate we won't have any more Batman movies made out at MSU, but we can do without that. We want our roads fixed," said State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

The legislature had toyed with not only killing the film incentive but defunding the Michigan Film Office entirely. In the end there will be money to keep the film office.

Political consultant Dennis Darnoi called the end of the incentive last year. He cited the end of Randy Richardville's tenure as Senate Majority Leader a key reason. Richardville was the incentive's only Lansing cheerleader. Add into that mix a looming budget crisis over the roads and the incentive was a goner.

"I'm not surprised at all," Darnoi said. "They need to find money and you have two choices: either increase revenue or you slash things."


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