Welfare for the rich and famous
According to Jim Burnstein, vice chairman of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council, taxpayer funded subsidies to the film industry benefit Michigan residents. A more accurate description would be “some” Michigan residents at the expense of others.
The purpose of a subsidy is to reduce the cost of doing business in Michigan and coax companies to choose Michigan over some other state for their investment. Burnstein uses the phrase “If We Build It, They Will Come,” but a more accurate phrase would be “If We Give Them Taxpayer Funding, They Will Come.” Unfortunately, this has become Michigan’s primary economic policy - bribe business to locate here.
But if lowering the cost of doing business is good for some politically-favored few, why not for everyone? Why should one industry be burdened by the Michigan Business Tax and onerous regulation costs, while another receives a break on these costs? How can it be considered fair or moral when a lifelong Michigan business owner is forced to pay higher taxes while the latest Cinderella industry receives millions of dollars to offset their tax burden?
Burnstein claims some of the benefits of these film subsidies were demonstrated when audiences “all” applauded as “Made in Michigan” rolled during the credits of the movie Gran Torino. Perhaps a different reaction would have met a more accurate description - “Funded by millions of Michigan taxpayer dollars.”
[Letter to the Editor - Farmington Observer. Published 12/2/2010.]