In 2008, the Mackinac Center opposed legislation creating a film subsidy program. It lost 145-1. Since that time, Michigan taxpayers have been forced to pay $475 million dollars to support subsidies for this industry. But Mackinac didn’t quit. And when circumstances changed in Mackinac, the time became ripe to repeal this program. So in July, the Michigan Legislature passed legislation prohibiting any new subsidies.
Supporters of the free market often appear to be out of the mainstream as they the fight special intererests that flock around capitols seeking favor from the government. But as this story shows, the tide can turn, if we work to be ready when the time comes.
Even is corporate welfare-happy Texas, we made some progress last session, with a reduction in funding for film subsidies and the Teaxs Enterprise Fund and the elimination of the Emerging Technology Fund. All wasn't good, though; we upped funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts by more than $4 million.
The Mackinac Center provides us with some good advice about why keeping up the fight against corproate subsidies is the right thing to do:
Even as the credits roll on the film program, this lesson is still relevant. It is not glitzy, big-government programs that lead to true prosperity. Real economic development is spurred by the millions of decisions and negotiations by private individuals, who risk their capital in hope of future gains. Encouraging more of this activity means less government involvement in the free enterprise system.