The principal function of NATO of Michigan is to better inform and serve the interests of its members on matters of statewide interest as it relates to motion picture exhibition.

We report regularly to our members and solicit input from them on a variety of issues before the state legislature and the various state agencies. Our members have testified before legislative committees about potential changes to Michigan’s Single Business Tax, our state obscenity laws and on the creation of the Michigan Film Advisory Council, to name a few.

We are represented in Lansing by Karoub Associates, the oldest and most reputable multi-client lobbying firm in the state. They monitor all pending legislation and state government activities, such as actions taken by the Michigan Department of Treasury. All issues of interest to exhibitors are reported immediately to members and closely followed through the process with frequent updates to the membership. When critical issues are discussed in Lansing, NATO of Michigan is at the table!

One of NATO of Michigan’s finest examples of effective representation was when the Department of Treasury decided unilaterally that box office receipts would be considered “royalties” and added into an exhibitor’s single business tax base for purposes of computing the amount of tax to be paid to the state. Never before had this been done for purposes of an exhibitor’s tax liability and the consequences would cost exhibitors in our state millions of dollars in additional taxes paid. Exhibitors from across the state banded together to take their case to the Michigan Legislature. They hired Karoub Associates to lobby the legislature to amend the Michigan Single Business Tax Act to specifically exclude box office receipts from a motion picture exhibitor’s single business tax base, effectively reversing the action taken by the Michigan Department of Treasury. After many months of negotiations, testimony before legislative committees, and calls from exhibitors to individual legislators, the effort was a success, and the legislation was signed into law. That law remains on the books today, providing motion picture exhibitors a specific exemption relative to the Michigan Single Business Tax. NATO of Michigan continues to be vigilant in protecting that provision of the tax law as well as opposing state and local admissions taxes and other regressive tax legislation that would harm our industry.

Out of that effort was born NATO of Michigan. The theater operators who were involved in the successful endeavor to change the Michigan Single Business Tax law saw the value in speaking to state government with a unified voice and the positive results which were realized. Hence, NATO of Michigan was founded in 1996, and continues to speak to government, the media, and any other elements of the motion picture industry on behalf of exhibitors around the state.

Beyond its dealings with the state legislature, NATO of Michigan has teamed up with Gift of Life and the Michigan Secretary of State’s office as part of the organ donation awareness program in Michigan. During Organ Donation Awareness month in 2001, member exhibitors ran trailers, displayed banners, and distributed literature to an estimated 1.5 million Michigan residents regarding this worthy cause. Due to this effort, we were a recipient of the “Crystal Award” from the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Society of Public Relations.

Lastly, a scholarship program has been created to assist the fine young men and women who work for our member theaters and who wish to attend a college or trade school of their choice. The NATO of Michigan scholarship program helps provide some of the financial resources necessary to realize this laudable goal.

NATO of Michigan gives members a chance to discuss many different issues that affect them personally and professionally and the ability to make a difference!


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