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Look who’s feeding at the public trough

Posted by Richard on January 29, 2010

In Michael Moore's 2009 film, Capitalism: A Love Story, he railed against (among others) corporate greedheads lining up to get government handouts of the taxpayers' money. Talk about a great big pot calling the kettle black.

According to Watchdog.org, Michigan's Mackinac Center discovered that the movie was partly filmed in Michigan, qualifying it for a generous windfall courtesy of the state's taxpayers. And it's already been approved, despite what strikes me as a serious conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety (emphasis added): 

That windfall would come from Michigan’s refundable tax credit program for the film industry, a program that allows movie producers to apply for a tax refund of up to 42 percent of their spending in Michigan. This lavish provision means a studio can easily receive more from Michigan taxpayers than it pays in Michigan taxes.

This initially seemed to trouble Moore, and he openly questioned the program at a forum in July 2008.

“These are large multinational corporations — Viacom, GE, Rupert Murdoch — that own these studios. Why do they need our money, from Michigan, from our taxpayers, when we’re already broke here?” Moore asked.

Moore posed this question to the Michigan Film Office director who determines which movies will qualify for the program. Moore went on: “I mean, they play one state against another, and so they get all this free cash when they’re making billions already in profits. What’s the thinking behind that?”

But in November 2008, Gov. Granholm appointed Michael Moore to the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council. Which advises the Michigan Film Office. Which runs the tax refund program.

Moore filmed part of “Capitalism: A Love Story” in Michigan. And the Mackinac Center has confirmed with the film office that a “production person” associated with Moore “applied, was approved for an incentive and … will receive credits” once the state treasury department reviews and approves the audited filing.

The film office did not disclose how much the resulting payment from the state would be; however, the film office director insisted that the incentive approval posed no conflict of interest with Moore’s seat on the film office advisory council.

Oh, OK. I guess I was wrong. Nothing to see here, folks. No crony capitalism. No unseemly behavior. No hypocritical greedhead pigs feeding at the public trough. The director of the office that Moore advises, who determines which movies qualify, has assured us of that.

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