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NC leaders deciding again on state's film break future

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina's film incentives may finally become a permanent fixture in the state's economic development pitch to television and movie producers. Or it could get written out of the script.

The state's refund on expenses by production companies that film in the state is set to expire this year. The legislature must decide when it returns in May whether to extend the tax break, rewrite it or eliminate it.

Film boosters have organized to work to keep the credit. They say it generates thousands of jobs and local spending. Critics of the credit point out companies get refunds even beyond what they pay in taxes and say the jobs are temporary.

The refunds totaled $77 million in 2012. Nearly $34 million went to "The Hunger Games" and "Iron Man 3."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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By the numbers

If California can't keep film jobs, how can NC expect to without incentives?

http://www.thewrap.com/louisiana-california-movie-making-capital-world-2...

Georgia and Louisiana-red states-clearly understand that the film industry generates jobs and revenue for small, local businesses and vendors, and encourages tourism as well.

Film jobs are only "temporary" in the same way an architect's or contractor's job is. When one project is complete, in a robust economy, the workers move onto the next project.

Having had a "temporary job" for nearly 27 years, paying local and state taxes in NC, sending 2 kids to local schools, and hoping to retire to the NC mountains in the next 5 years, the film industry has been very good to me and my family. And the majority of us LIVE in NC. Productions know our crews are experienced and have no reason to bring in more expensive crew they have to house and provide with cars.

Film jobs are temp

They collect unemployment when not working but make over 2,000 a week when working. Another way to take taxpayer money but don't put in near as much. Same with incentives I guess north Carolina taxpayers are fine with giving up to a million to high paid actors on top of their multi million contracts? While the fat cats at screen gems laugh all the way to bank? Hey I'm a business owner can I get 25% back from the amount I spend on labor and supplies?

Let them expire

While an argument could be made that there may be some merit in government providing a small amount of seed money to foster initial economic development, it should be small and temporary. It should be used only as a spark to start the fire.

These incentives are a bad deal for taxpayers and poorly implemented. NC does not even get an executive producer credit for its money. That advertising should have been required for every production that took taxpayer money.

Take the training wheels off and the film industry can learn to ride on its own. If it can't, then let them walk.

Film Industry

When the film industry walks, so do the local jobs they help create. They'll just go to other states that provide the incentives and we'll be left with fewer jobs. I understand that ideologues aren't fond of these economic realities, but we can ill afford fewer jobs in SE NC.

re: Film Industry

They all appear to functioning prostitutes...for the highest bidder.

Herein lies the rub

You can boil this down to just a few facts.
Film jobs are clean jobs - a HUGE plus in my book

Film jobs are temporary jobs - HUGE minus in my book
Film credits are based upon money spent not taxes paid - a HUGE minus in my book.
Film credits go to corporations from out of state - a HUGE minus in my book
Film jobs were here BEFORE incentives - meaning the incentives don't need to be here.

But the film supporters arguments are based upon studies that are flawed - the same way the ball park supporters arguments were flawed because they mis-used IMPLAN in their development of "multipliers" which are far too generous and give the wrong impression of indirect spending

http://valleyecon.blogspot.com/2009/10/beacon-economics-rips-sacramento-...

The film industry itself is guilty of this as well:

http://www.carolinajournal.com/daily_journal/display.html?id=10149

Now, on the other hand State auditors don't estimated anything - they count actual numbers, RESULTS if you will, of film spending in states - which is why many states have capped, diminished, or eliminated film incentives.
Film supporters then say these things:
"Are all the other states wrong" or "do you want these jobs to go elsewhere?"

Funny thing is that in the top ten large and mid sized cities - as ranked by the film industry themselves many cities are from states with? NO FILM INCENTIVES !!!!
This is in fact corporate welfare. But it is also a give away of taxpayer dollars.
$77M is 7% of $1B dollars. 7% is the figure I use to estimate how much in taxes is paid by the direct and indirect spending (It is actually MUCH lower as rates are lower and some spending is done on non-taxable goods and services).
The film industry itself will say they did NOT spend that much here last year so that money came from general revenue funds.
So film supporters - can you:
Support a revised film incentive that pays back ONLY a percentage of taxes spent? OR perhaps a new corporate tax structure for film company's????

If your answer is NO then we need to eliminate them altogether

Vog