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Will Michigan Extend Its Film Subsidies?

Michigan lawmakers will soon reconcile their differences over the state’s film tax credit program, which was scheduled to expire in 2017.

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to extend it until 2021.

A different version of the bill, passed by the Senate in November, contains no sunset date, a distinction the Times Herald claims “is a key point of contention between the House and Senate versions of the bill.”

Both versions “would cap the credits at 25% of production costs, plus 10% for a qualified postproduction facility,” representing a slight reduction from current limits. (RELATED: ‘Oz’ Film Costs Michigan Taxpayers $40 Million)

According to M Live, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, the bill’s Republican sponsor, “appeared open to the House’s proposed seven-year ‘sunset’ on the film incentive program and is of the belief the industry could level itself out over time.”

Richardville applauded the House vote on Thursday, saying “this incentive program provides jobs and helps the economy,” and because of the reduced caps, it “doesn’t spend a dime. Actually, it makes the spending less than what the current situation is.” (RELATED: Michigan Taxpayers Foot Bill for Batman/Superman Film)

Even if the Senate decides to accept the sunset provision contained in the House bill, though, there is no guarantee that it would be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, who the Times Herald said “had hoped to phase them out entirely” when he took office.

Some legislators, such as Republican State Rep. Tom McMillin, have indicated that they would support a Snyder veto. (RELATED: North Carolina Debates Film Subsidies)

“These film subsidies are the worst example of corporate welfare,” McMillin told the Times Herald. “For this one, we’re sending a large amount of money out of state.”

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