Rally pushes for continuation of NC film incentives

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Submitted: Mon, 05/05/2014 - 3:58am
Updated: Mon, 05/05/2014 - 5:21pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Film equals jobs. That’s what hundreds of people were chanting at today’s NC Film rally downtown.

Film industry employees and supporters worried about their future came out in full force. Organizers says more than 1,000 people turned out.

Signs, T-shirts and even some costumes supporting the film incentive could be seen all along Water Street.

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says there is no reason the state should pull the rug out from under more than 4,000 people’s jobs.

“Forty-two-hundred Jobs in the state of North carolina that are clean jobs, well paying jobs. It will be a large sucking sound,” Hamilton said. “They’ll all be going to Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana.”

Hamilton says the average wage for film workers is about $20,000 higher than the average state income.

Opponents to the tax incentives for film projects scheduled their own counter protest at the same time as the film rally around the corner at Front and Market streets, but according to a Facebook post, the even was canceled.


  • Ireckon says:

    Know what,run the movie industry off to South Carolina, who by the way welcome industrial expansion. BMW just announced a 1 billion, yes 1 BILLION dollar expansion of their facility in Greer SC. That plant has been there 22 years! Think incentives might be involved from the state of SC for that to continue? We are so stupid! Want a job-head to Greenville SC area. Its booming! Wilmington is on the dead end of I-40! Don’t need to be running jobs off.

  • NCtvmoviejobs says:

    Will Governor Pat McCrory let 5,000 well-paying film and TV jobs move across the border to South Cack and Georgia?

    How would that play in Charlotte and Wilmington in 2016?

  • SurfCityTom says:

    the Governor and legislature are battling a multi-billion dollar debt to the Feds for all the money borrowed by the 2 prior administrations to keep Medicaid alive.

    He’s dealing with a current massive projected deficit for Medicaid as well as a severs drop in tax revenue.

    Most clear thinking tax payers, who understand the deficit spending policies of the prior 2 Governors were toxic and wasteful, would prefer he be in Raleigh tending to the state’s business rather than at some feel good show of solidarity which failed to attract 30% of the reported locals who rely on the film industry.

    So, potato head, if you’re going to ask “where’s Pat” also ask “where are all the film proponents”?

    The weather was good; if this is such a critical issue, they should have been out in force. They were not. Does that send a message?

  • jj says:

    Incentives should be given to teachers and not millionaires.

  • FilmProponent says:

    I agree that teachers should be paid better, but millionaires? I work for films and tv shows, the incentives bring the production companies to our state, and I get paid for my work on them. I’m not a millionaire. In fact, I’d say on any given day filming, there are no millionaires on set. So what about us?

  • Confused35 says:

    So let me get this straight. With at least one show, three movies filming in the local area, all the workers were supposed to go the rally instead of ya know…working? Also. None of the arguments make sense AGAINST the incentives. We are in debt! We have no money! So you’d rather make nothing from a multi million dollar movie that will gladly takes it’s business elsewhere, instead of a smaller chunk of the pie? That makes perfect business sense. Plus, none of the workers are involved in the tax incentives, so the employment fas such is beneficial as well. I don’t see the issue here? I love the argument that people use saying schools should incentives, not the film industry. Two different cases. Stop trying to force them into the same argument.

  • Vog46 says:

    Less than 25% of actual workers showed up.
    no coverage from Raleigh as of yet.
    Lame duck pols saying save incentives.

    And yet we now face $440 in tax revenue declines and over $400M in Medicaid shortages.
    And film supporters think several hundred will convince raleigh that losing 81 cents on a dollar is worth it?

    Good luck with that


  • SurfCityTom says:

    needs some education in the area of balancing a budget.

    The current administration is dealing with debt service and repayment of $2.4 billion which was borrowed during the Perdue and Easley administrations to keep programs such as Medicaid afloat.

    Now the bill is due.

    The state has a finite amount of resources available.

    Where should those resources be allocated?

    Film Industry subsidies and bribes?

    Education and teacher salaries?

    Maintain medicaid?

    Fight thuggery and gang violence so parents will not feel accountable for the actions of the offspring they create but do not parent?

    Choices have to be made.

    What does Ms Hamilton not understand?

  • Timekeeper says:

    Stop the incentives. Movie making is an industry and should pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else.

  • Timekeeper says:

    Medicaid should be done away with except in extreme, life-threatening situations. It is nothing but a reward for those who have never put anything into the system.

  • Vog46 says:

    In spite of how vehemently I (we) may be to film incentives we only have to look to SC to see how this can play out politically.
    Not one, but TWO Studies showing that filming loses money:


    The first one, in 2008 said they lost 81 cents on every dollar – the latest one says they lost 69 cents for every dollar. But what happened? When then Gov Sanford vetoed the incentives bill he was over ridden.

    The second study was done at the request of Nikki Haley
    So, in spite of over whelmng evidence, the state still gives out money to filming.

    So to answer film supporters who ask “does SC know more than we do”? The answer is yes they do and still give out incentives that still lose the state money.
    And Tom – this is in a very “Republican” state…….
    Politicians of all stripes become star struck and make stupid economic decisions.


  • GuestMan. says:

    We wouldn’t have a severe drop in revenue if he didn’t give tax breaks to the wealthier people in NC.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Not everyone who gets medicaid are leeches who have never worked a day in their lives. There are people who fall on hard times and need a little help from time to time.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    however, Medicaid is projecting a $1 BILLION shortfall for the year; and that has to be made up somehow.

    So where do the funds have their greatest impact? Where should the available revenue be allocated?

    Movie incentives and bribes?

    Teacher Salaries?


    Thug control as proposed by Sterling Cheatham?

    Someone has to make the decision.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    expand on those incentives?

    so far you’ve said nothing concrete and in effect have just clouded the issue.

  • Timothy Turner says:

    I was reacting more to his calling someone stupid for having a differing viewpoint; went off half-cocked I guess :) It’s like any other emotionally charged argument, none of us are likely to switch sides no matter what anyone posts for or against.

  • jj says:

    I can answer that for you and the answer is “YES”. I am tired of seeing the tax dollars being given away. The movie industry is a big whore looking for the best dollar. If they paid taxes on the finish product here then give them a tax break. However, they don’t.

  • tax_man says:

    You don’t get it. Incentives create political corruption, and a decency on a discounted business model. I agree with you that teachers should get incentives, NO ONE should get incentives.

    You must be one of the few people who actually benefit from the industry? If taxes were “fair”, incentives wouldn’t matter and location with talent would be selected. No a cheap place to produce. Is Wilmington just a cheap place? Sometimes I have to wonder.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    your screen name.

    They could not get there, you say, because they were working?

    Where are friends or members of their families who could stand in for them? Where are all the local business owners who, the supporters of the incentives say, benefit from the spending by these film entities?

    Did you ever take basic, business math? You’re corect, in a sense, that film incentives and education funding are not related. However, the funds for them come from the state’s budget. With a finite number of revenue dollars available, and a looming medicaid shortfall which must be covered, where do the dollars come from? In that sense they are related.

    Choices have to be made in spending state revenue.

    Can not borrow further to meet all of these needs.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    You may even be more confused than just 35 times. Wow, talk about someone who just doesn’t get it, or at the very least, pretends not to get it.

    NC loses, let me repeat that, loses money on the tax incentive. Everybody knows that, even the film industry. That’s why they’re the only involved party in all of this that has come out with a report, different from everyone else, that says otherwise and they’re known nationwide for their “creative accounting”. People in their own industry sue them on a regular basis for cooking their own books. There’s even a 50% chance that even you aren’t a local but just another PR hack, posting from an out of state office, and being paid by Tinseltown.

    Just in case you actually are a real person and are really too inept to understand the obvious, let me put it to you in very simple terms: If Johnny buys apples at $1.00 a piece, and has to sell them for only $0.19 each, he loses $0.81 on each apple and will continue to lose more and more money if he continues to sell apples. His debt will continue to grow. You sound like the idiot who says losses will be eliminated if you just make it up with more volume.

    It’s almost impossible to be that stupid so there must be another reason for your position on film incentives. My guess would be personal greed.

  • Vog46 says:

    “We are in debt! We have no money!”

    Nicely stated – so you are IN FAVOR of bringing back the corporate tax on filming? Goody for you !! Finally someone thinking like many others think. And you also agree that out of state distribution rights should be taxed by NC as well BRAVO !!!!

    ” So you’d rather make nothing from a multi million dollar movie that will gladly takes it’s business elsewhere, instead of a smaller chunk of the pie?”
    A smaller chunk of the pie? We lose 81 cents for every dollar doled out – there is no pie.

    “Plus, none of the workers are involved in the tax incentives,”
    Agree with you there – in fact I have always stated the employees are the MAIN driver of movie making here.
    Now that being said wages are included as approved expenditures for the incentives so your wages ARE counted – so you are involved.
    End corporate welfare – end the incentives.
    When Georgia comes to its senses theyw ill end theirs as well – so will SC. But filming will not stop here.


  • Rusty says:

    Market value of apples is $1 Johnny can buy them at .50 wholesale, mark them up and profit. NC says “hey come here and we’ll sell at .45″ but without growers there ARE no apples. I would not call someone stupid for having a position opposed to mine; they infer different conclusions from the same data.

  • jon fitz says:

    Have to agree here. The argument against incentives is pretty clear. NC loses money, just like Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico…etc. The MPAA sponsored the only reports that say otherwise, in each and every state. All you are doing is moving work around the map. I’m in the film industry, but I’m paying enough attention to realize the MPAA is fleecing the nation state by state in a race to the bottom.

  • Vog46 says:

    Poor example.
    Chef clearly stated $1.00 per apple was Johnny’s cost not $0.50 then a mark up of another 0.50 .

    Your argument is disingenuous at best and a bold attempt at changing the numbers to make your argument look somehow better. This is EXACTLY what Robbie attempted with his marginalization arguments on another blog.

    Sorry you hurt your cause……….


  • Machiavel says:

    What does anyone personally stand to gain if we lose the incentives? No one factors in how much outside and tourism money the industry brings. When crews, talent, and others come to the area they support local businesses. I still wonder why those who are opposed seem so angry about it, when it does not effect their lives one bit. There are plenty of other businesses leaching money from the local economy- take Walmart for example,one of the biggest recipients of corporate welfare,so what are you not up in arms about them? Perhaps that would be a better use of your time and rancour.

  • 4253 says:

    If we “lose” the tax incentives? The tax incentives NC taxpayers lose money on?

    I get to keep more of my own money instead of giving it to someone else. Duh!

  • 10101 says:

    What a joke. Feel free to stay if your overall contribution to all of NC’s residents is actually financially positive instead of costing us money. If that’s not the case; don’t let the door hit you in the behind on your way out of town.

    I wonder if the film industry stockpiles signs like these, made of course in a slave-wage sweatshop, in an unsafe building in Bangladesh, and then sends them out as needed. Everything hand painted in, except of course, the name of the state they’re threatening to “move” to. All they have to do is ship them and paint in the name.

    Sound a little harsh? Perhaps. Then again, when an industry adopts the morality of an aggressive, threatening panhandler who demands that you hand over some of your hard-earned cash just because they tell you to, why should we expect anything less?

    If we wouldn’t tolerate that sort of behavior from a street person, who probably has nothing, why would we tolerate it from a multi-million dollar industry just because they make movies? When did it become OK to tolerate an industry that includes extortion as part of its everyday business model?

    It’s way past time to get the stars out of our eyes and start to really see what greedy, self-serving dirt bags some of these people really are.

  • Vog46 says:

    There was a film rally this weekend. A rally of support says “Robbie”. According to the Star News, WECT, WWAY, Port City Daily and several local radio stations, attendance was in the “hundreds”. Industry insiders would like you to believe it was thousands.

    After all the rhetoric, the political type road signs, the advertisements and blatant pro film slant of the local media I was expecting more – a LOT more. Supporters say that filming is the end all and be all of economic activity here. If it were to stop, THOUSANDS would lose their jobs !!

    They also believe that the economic effect of filming permeates the local economy with lumber stores, car rental agencies, hotels, restaurants and caterers all dependent upon thriving industry for their own livelihood.

    Given all of the above – it would make sense that 10s of thousands would be there. Yet, it was hundreds and of those hundreds at least 50% were spouses or kids of actual film workers. So the actual turnout of workers was abysmal at best. Several supporters (including Shaun) are claiming inflated attendance numbers yet pictures of the event, and multiple media outlets disagree.

    What happened? Well for one thing they started believing their own hype. They have been steadfast n their belief that their own industry studies have been correct with every fact and projection. Never once have they even attempted to argue against ANY linked info that’s been provided, or tried to get any independent stories affiliated with stories buttressing their arguments – because there are none. NONE.
    I know they are well intentioned, but there is a limit to how much hype you can project before you start getting a backlash and I fear that yesterdays disastrously low turnout was just that – a backlash against their own hype.

    And of ALL things they hold their rally just as the state is announcing a severe tax revenue shortfall on TOP of Medicaid shortfall that is still growing. Total shortfall estimates at nearing $1 BILLION dollars between those two items alone. One could argue that McCrory’s tax cuts were ill-timed – yes I can agree with that. You cut taxes when you are FLUSH, not when you are struggling. But the overall economic picture is one requiring government officials to look at every penny spent to see if it’s spent wisely. Spending $1 and getting a 0.19 return is not wise economic activity – yet film supporters try to marginalize it, in the vein hope that the sleight of hand won’t be noticed. Sorry, but your arguments have be exposed as being fraudulent. We are losing money on our investment and as such we need to cut our losses in tough economic times. Moviemaking is not the answer but part of the problem of out of control spending that provides no overall benefit to the state

    But teacher pay raises are becoming a critical issue for both parties, as is state infrastructure and other items. Yet, film supporters cling to the bizarre idea that somehow they hold the panacea to all things economic here in NC. This is indicative of an industry that is addicted to its own hype, and that refuses to even consider they may be wrong about any of their hype. You have become (pardon the pun) ball park supporters on steroids.

    I hold no ill will towards film people. Heck I support filming – but not at taxpayer expense. There is no need. Filming will not stop if the incentives sunset, the industry publications themselves say it.
    The fear mongering, and narrow mindedness of the film folks has now irreparably hurt their cause, and yesterday’s pathetic turn out proves my point – you can’t even estimate the crowds correctly, never mind economic impacts.

    What a colossal public relations nightmare yesterday turned out to be.


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