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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Could this be the beginning of the end for North Carolina’s film industry?

Rep. Ted Davis (R-19th District) proposed three changes to a budget bill hoping to extend the state’s film tax credit program. He thought he had the green light for it this morning, but that’s not what happened.

“Flabbergasted,” EUE/Screen Gems Studios chief Bill Vassar said about the amendment’s failure today. “I couldn’t understand what happened. Yesterday, Speaker (Thom) Tillis was all in favor of this amendment and supported Ted Davis, who put this forth.”

Davis proposed to reduce the tax credit from 25 to 22.5 percent of a film’s qualifying expenses. The cap on the tax rebate was changed from $20 million to $15 million. Finally he proposed to continue the incentive program through 2016, but a House committee Wednesday morning voted down his amendment.

Vassar thinks lawmakers just don’t get it.

“I think sometimes the legislators lose sight of all the money that comes back into the coffers,” Vassar said. “I honestly don’t understand. We were looking forward to this amendment this morning.”

The amendment lost 20-16 after all the votes came in.

“Ten members of the GOP and members of Speaker (Thom) Tillis’s staff appeared to be walking around the room whipping votes to make sure that the amendment did not pass,” Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) said.

But Davis still thinks something positive is going to come from this.

“I’m very optimistic, because there are several other avenues that are being pursued,” he said by phone from Raleigh. “But I will say, this is far from over.”

Davis could not go into detail about what these avenues are, but he said he left that meeting this morning and went straight back to work fighting for film in the Tar Heel State.

The amendment’s failure leaves the Senate plan that would turn the film tax credits into a grant program that the House must now consider.

Tillis has not returned a call for comment on what happened.

Comment on this Story

  • Michael Plumides

    Many of you have already read my blog regarding the Chick-fil-a/McCrory connection. Over 1,200 people have read it today and 55,000 people since I’ve been updating it. That’s enough votes to tip an election, easy and almost as many people who presented themselves for the Virginia Republican Primary this week.

    If you haven’t read it, go here: http://michaelplumides.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/governor-pat-mccrory-and-chick-fil-a-conspire-to-send-north-carolina-jobs-to-georgia/

    Bill Vasser’s frustration is legitimate – but my experience in politics has revealed that someone like Tom Tillis will support the incentives publicly, but will encourage a select few in his party to vote against a bill because the directive comes from higher up. Tillis can then throw his hands up and say, “I tried! But the damned Tea Partiers… blah, blah, blah.” This is all prearranged.

    As you know, the NC Film Incentive has been under attack by the GOP for some time, due to several factors: 1) Filmmakers notoriously vote Democrat. 2) Hollywood supports Democrats, 3) A “moral” issue regarding content of films in NC (a bill introduced by Phil Berger after the notorious Hound Dog film received incentives), 4) FIlmmakers are unionized, 5) The GOP special interests don’t control the film/TV production industry therefore make little money from it, but mostly 6) OUTSIDE MONEY from Georgia – lobbyists but more notably the Cathy/Chick-fil-a/Pinewood Studios connection (the only GOP supporting film and TV entity in broadcast media)displaying a cronyism at new heights in the GOP era.

    There have been two sources that have verified the findings in the above report: 1) A Chick-fil-a executive confirmed the theory over the weekend but is afraid he will lose his job if speaks publicly, and 2) Burt Jones (state representative of District #25 in Georgia) unknowingly volunteered the information to a North Carolina source. I spoke to an Executive in LA, about this who replied, “I’ve met with the Cathy family. They are all about the bottom line. I wouldn’t doubt it one bit.”

    Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I met with Ex- Mayor, Patrick Cannon, last December, the week after he took office in Charlotte. I sent him an email with this blog attached and he immediately wanted to meet with me. Little did I know his connection to the McCrory family. Pat McCrory’s brother was his “Big Brother” in the inner city program, and McCrory had been his behind-the-scenes mentor – grooming him for a top slot but obviously a corrupt politician – pleading guilty to Federal Corruption charges last week. Cannon was very eager to hear my findings – possibly to report back to McCrory what my findings were. In that meeting, Pat Cannon told me that the GOP would keep the incentive in some form but would make it so undesirable that no productions would come to North Carolina.

    The rub here is, all of my information was sent to Patrick Cannon via electronic mail during the period he under FBI surveillance so THEY KNOW EVERYTHING I have conveyed to Cannon and have read my proven theories with diligence. I promise you, they have their eyes on this one.

  • SurfCityTom

    that has to be the most wind filled bag which states nothing this site has ever posted. That link has more smoke and mirrors than any Republican Administration has ever used.

    In comparison, Steinfeld’s show was riddled with facts.

    Not 1 direct, or even indirect connection between the Governor and Chic Filet.

    Not 1 dollar connected to his campaign.

    Take a lesson from Screen Gems. 2 days ago, they were all doom and gloom.

    Now they are appreciative of the steps being taken in the house and senate; and even express their desire to work to maintain the industry in NC.

    Like the ballpark supporters, you’re the worst advocate available. Every time you try to bury the issue with riddle filled posts, you prove it’s better to remain silent and appear foolish than to speak and remove all doubt.

    Why not allow the legislature to do its job?

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