2 years after tax law, Michigan’s making movies

Michigan's bid to become a star in the movie business is drawing mixed reviews.

Two years into one of the most generous tax incentive programs in the nation, the state has lured some big-name productions, from "Gran Torino" with Clint Eastwood to portions of "Up in the Air" with George Clooney.

Since the measure became law on April 7, 2008, 89 movie or TV productions have been completed. Hotels, caterers and others getting some spin-off business can't wait for the industry to expand.

But some lawmakers are questioning whether Michigan is getting its money's worth.

The tax credit program is projected to cost the state nearly $69 million for projects completed in 2009, not counting incentives given for permanent infrastructure projects, according to the Michigan Film Office. The potential annual bill is higher — more than $100 million — but some projects weren't finished and won't get the tax credits.

A few lawmakers would prefer to use part of the tax incentive cash to help fill in a state budget shortfall of at least $1.5 billion headed into the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Other detractors say the jobs created are just temporary.


Film Business, Filmmaking

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