Monday, June 13, 2011

'Oz' Turnout a Peek at What Snyder Threw Away

A lost opportunity. That's what I thought when I read about the thousands who turned out in Pontiac over the weekend for a chance at a job as an extra in the movie Oz.

The movie just got in under the wire, being approved for Michigan's film incentive program before Rick Snyder axed it because it doesn't fit with his ideology of ending taxes for every business in hopes one of them will create a job someday, but hey, no promises.

Snyder threw away a lot when he ended the program, or gutted it so that the movie industry cannot rely on it. He threw away a chance to continue creating a brand new industry for the state that would counterbalance the auto industry; a way to keep young people in the state who have special talents; a way to create a new image for the state instead of the old, out-dated Rust Belt image. The change was just starting to take hold with the location of studios here that would provide steady jobs through post-production work as well as filming, but Snyder pulled the rug out from under them.

It wasn't financial. The state now has millions of dollars pouring into the treasury that it wasn't planning on and can clearly afford the incentives.

So what were they thinking when they decided to throw away this chance to build a new industry? Was it strictly ideological -- the unfounded belief that government shouldn't have any role in helping industries thrive, even though it clearly does that all the time?

Or was it strictly political? Do Republicans hate Hollywood that much because of its tendency to support Democratic candidates? Do they hate the fact that many of the long-term jobs would be unionized?

Whatever it was -- ideological or political -- it was foolish beyond belief.

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