New Poll: Dump Film Subsidies for Road Funds
A new poll shows two out of three people in Michigan think the state should end film subsidies and put it into roads.
According to a Detroit Free Press article from March 4th, the incentives cost the state about $425 million since they began in 2008. But annual reports filed with the Michigan Film Office show they also generated $1.3 billion in spending by producers on everything from wages and salaries to services ranging from lumber yards, to sound and lighting technicians, carpenters and electricians to food and lodging. Critics say the program never delivered on permanent jobs. One of the bigger films made under the program is "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice."
A press release from the Mackinaw Center and State Chamber of Commerce cites a phone poll of 600 likely voters and conducted this month by Mitchell Research. Sixty six percent of respondents said they would support redirecting Michigan’s $50 million annual film subsidy to fixing the roads. Forty-eight percent said they strongly support the idea while only 25 percent said they were opposed.
“Clearly, Michigan voters recognize the benefit of reprioritizing existing resources to fix the roads,” said Michigan Chamber President & CEO Rich Studley. “This costly and ineffective film subsidy is not creating full-time, permanent jobs for Michigan residents and is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
When asked if Michigan’s $50 million film subsidy should be continued or stopped altogether, without regard to road funding, an overwhelming majority of respondents – 60 percent to 29 percent – said the state should end the program.
“Despite all the glitz and glam of Hollywood and the positive press productions have received, voters are largely unimpressed with the program,” noted Mackinac Center for Public Policy President Joseph G. Lehman. “Lansing lawmakers have a real opportunity here to ensure that good policy makes for good politics.”
“If this polling data shows anything it is that lawmakers have an opportunity to reprioritize a low value expenditure (film subsidies) into a higher one (road improvements),” said Studley. “It’s time for legislators to place a higher priority on Michigan’s taxpayers and get the job done on fixing the roads.”