News Story

Legislator ‘Stunned’ By End Of Film Subsidies, Knocks Other Corporate Handouts She Approved

Democrat voted for $1.2 billion in 'huge tax breaks and sweetheart incentives'

Democratic State Rep. Leslie Love of Detroit has a cameo appearance in the Comedy Central TV show called “Detroiters.”

In the eighth episode of the second season of the show called “Hark Motors,” Love plays a client of two struggling advertising executives who land a deal to market a zero-emissions vehicle. The plan falls apart when they learn the car expels “harmful toxic emissions” in the form of an “emissions blob” that looks and smells like human feces. The “crapping car” sells for $1.5 million.

Michigan taxpayers paid $445,620 to the program’s producers to shoot the pilot episode here, under a now-defunct Michigan film subsidy program back in 2015.

In a Gongwer News Service report, Love expressed her dismay that the film subsidies program had ended.

“I was stunned then and still am that we ended such a valuable tool while we continue to offer huge tax breaks and sweetheart incentives to other industries,” Love said.

She should not be stunned, because so far during her two House terms, Love has voted “yes” on dozens of “huge tax breaks” and “sweetheart incentives” for other industries. In fact, she appears to have never once voted against taxpayer handouts to a corporation or developer. But she has voted against scaling back or even requiring more transparency for these subsidies.

According to one recent voting record analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Love has approved at $1.2 billion in direct business subsidies during her 44 months in the House, while not opposing any. The actual amount of giveaways she has approved is larger when her votes for other kinds of business subsidies are included.

Among the deals that Love approved was Senate Bill 242 of 2017, which transferred $200 million to select business owners, including a Chinese company that makes iPhones. She also approved Senate Bill 111 of 2017, which authorized up to $1.8 billion in taxpayer handouts to developers, including the person Forbes magazine identified as the richest man in Michigan, Dan Gilbert. And she voted against ending cash handouts to film producers in 2015.

Love didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.