Sunday, January 25, 2009

State film incentives: Take two

By Christopher Behnan • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • January 25, 2009

Michigan's generous film tax incentive has brought the likes of Clint Eastwood, Drew Barrymore, Adrien Brody and other stars to the Great Lakes State, and with them a palpable excitement wherever they're filming.

Behind the scenes, however, several fiscal experts argue the tax-credit program will cause upward of $120 million to leave Michigan's general coffers this year, while the program — intended to boost the state's economy — will bring in little, if any, expected tax revenue for the state's budget.

The film incentive, approved early last year in a series of bills by the state Legislature, is a "refundable tax credit." A tax credit is typically something that reduces an overall tax bill. The refundable tax credit, as set in the film incentive package, means production companies that qualify will get a check for the full amount of their credit — even if it's more than their total taxes owed.

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