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Michigan film incentives to stay at $50 million, Senate leader wants more

Ariel Dovas

The top Republican in the state Senate says he’s not satisfied with the amount of money lawmakers have set aside for film and TV productions.

The Legislature is expected to wrap up a state budget this week. It will include $50 million in film incentives. That’s the same as last year, but half of that money is now slated to continue into future budgets.

Gov. Rick Snyder has sought to cut the film incentives since he took office in 2011. He says the state can make better investments that create more of an economic return.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, has fought harder than any other state lawmaker to increase funding for film incentives during that time. He says $25 million of ongoing money is not enough.

“If you’re coming in here with a big Hollywood-type production, they’re not going to hire people and train them as well,” Richardville told reporters Tuesday. “So, I’m trying to increase the number so that we can get more training and develop careers versus just short-term jobs.”

Richardville says more ongoing funding is needed to attract productions that create longer lasting jobs.

“We don’t have people that have the kind of experience they do in California. So we need a couple of television shows, I think. And the television shows would allow you to – over a series of 13, 14, 20 episodes – to increase your responsibility, your job knowledge, and actually learn on the job,” said Richardville.

The Senate leader says TV shows will not come to Michigan if the incentives aren’t guaranteed from year to year.

He hopes to introduce separate legislation later this year that would boost that future funding for film incentives. Richardville is term limited after this year.

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