LANSING – State Representatives Kate Ebli (D-Monroe), Chair of the House Tax Policy Committee, and Ed Clemente (D-Lincoln Park), Chair of the House Committee on New Economy and Quality of Life, held a joint meeting on Wednesday to hear testimony on the impact of Michigan's film incentive program. Twenty supporters testified before the committee and more than 40 supporters attended the hearing to show their support.
"From the scenic shorelines of Lake Michigan to the vibrant restaurants and nightlife of Detroit, and everything in between, Michigan has a lot to offer our residents, and visitors from across the country," Ebli said. "Putting the Great Lakes State on the big screen helps share what our residents get to enjoy every day with the rest of the world. But this program is more than just making movies in Michigan and showing off our state's beauty – it's about giving a boost to local businesses and small business owners, and energizing our economy through diversification."
Created in 2008, the program offers some of the most competitive tax credits in the country to filmmakers in an effort to create jobs, diversify Michigan's economy and keep talented young people from heading to other states. Since then, movie production has increased in Michigan, which has helped support local businesses and Michigan workers.
The joint committee heard testimony from restaurant owners who have grown their businesses and hired additional staff as a result of catering demands from filming crews, as well as unemployed workers who found work in the movie industry and employed workers who decided to pursue a new career.
"This single piece of legislation has jumpstarted an industry on the verge of collapse and has been a bright spot over the last 20 months in an otherwise dismal economy," said Tim Magee, president and business agent of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 812, who testified in support of the program. "In looking back, I know of no other bill passed by this House that has offered so much hope to so many small businesses – from restaurants, hotels and caterers to hardware stores, lumberyards and all businesses that are used in the production of motion pictures."