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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.

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38 Comments on "NC film industry in doubt after committee kills incentive changes"

2015 years 10 months ago

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?

Michael Plumides
2015 years 10 months ago

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.

2015 years 10 months ago

Georgia/Pinewood Studios stands to benefit the most by the film industry leaving NC.

McCrory and the Cathy family (Chik-Fil-A) have a snuggly, donor-politician relationship.

Who’s bankrolling Pinewood? The Cathy family.

Follow the money, folks. And it’s not political. Georgia has a Republican governor and legislature as well. It’s all about buying influence.

Your governor and state legislators have sold 4000+ families and businesses down the river in exchange for campaign donations.


2015 years 10 months ago

Maybe u are jealous

2015 years 10 months ago

you’ve posted nothing but conjecture and gossip. That link takes 1 to an article in which the author does not name a single person or note a single dollar amount.

If there was any substance, they would have him and his campaign before the NC Election Board.

They got Easley for accepting and not reporting airplane transportation.

They got the law partner of Smiley’s first husband for not reporting campaign in kind donations to her campaign.

There’s still time for salvaging some short term incentives with a follow up attempt during the 2015 Legislative Session.

But, you rabid dogs make unfounded statements and spread unsubstantiated gossip. You attack the Governor. And you would lay the blame at the feet of the entire legislature, even those who supported the incentive extension.

Great job in building a consensus. You really should learn more about how government works.

2015 years 10 months ago

Nc is glad to see the film freaks leave. There is no place for them in this conservative state.

2015 years 10 months ago

the unfocused manner in which they attack anyone who questions incentives or challenges the logic of incentives bespeaks much. The manner in which they attack the Governor, who has to sign the budget, and the Legislature which would grant some incentive reminds 1 of a rabid dog biting the hand which feeds it.

The next step will be a joint body committee working to take the 2 different budgets and blend them into 1 which both houses can approve. So far, Hamilton has been quoted as saying the Senate approach is not workable.

So will the supporters take a more conciliatory approach; gain some short term incentives; and lobby aggressively before the 2015 Session? That will require some maturity and focused leadership. Neither have been present so far. But we are talking about Hollywood.

B Kontz
2015 years 10 months ago

I’ve been a film worker since 1984,and have had to work on the road for most of my career. The incentives aren’t something us workers dreamed up, it came about when Canada started luring productions with tax breaks.The only way to bring the films back to the good old USA was to offer the same thing. Let me be clear, I’m not in favor of giving billionaires tax breaks on any level, but the truth is ,that’s what has become the norm for this industry. We use to draw productions in with our talent and the infrastructure we had to offer in the Wilmington area.Now its about the bottom line. It sucks, because now I’ll have to go back on the road as well as many other workers and our money will no longer be spent in NC. I just wanted those of you who put film workers down to realize we are normal, local people trying to make an honest living, and spending time with our families when we are not working 60+ hours a week. I just thought I’d put that out there.I guess I’ll be back in NC for Christmas

Heimie Schmelter
2015 years 10 months ago

You could’ve gone to college and gotten a degree in medicine, engineering or business and gotten a job in a professional manner instead of becoming a movie “roadie” building sets and operating camera equipment. You chose the route you took because of the convenience and immediate pay at the time, it was “temporary” work then and remains that way to this very day. A nature of the business so to speak. They need when they need you and don’t when they don’t. You chose it, so do what you have to do to stay in it or go find another career. Bitchin’ll getcha nowhere.
As for being “…against giving billionaires any tax breaks…” just remember who the philanthopists are, remember who it is that starts businesses that employ millions of people. Remember who it is that not only has the venture capitol, but is willing to take the risk with that venture capitol to start new businesses that actually employ people, give them benefits and allow them the luxury of paying thier families way through life. Remember them now? You’re everyday labor workers for the movie industry, no different from the rest of us that work and earn day to day. Why should YOU get tax credits when we don’t? You aren’t contributing to job growth, you aren’t building new libraries, museums or hospital wings and aren’t starting new businesses that employ people on a consistent and reliable level. You’re simply stacking up film reels that the majority of people don’t want to waste their hard earned money on to watch anyway. Nobody wants to spend $120.00+ on a family “movie” night any longer, especially with todays poor quality.
And most of all, try separating yourselves from the “Obama mindset”. Attempt some real, true-to-life planning of your careers before starting a family if that’s what’s important to you. Don’t expect that it’ll just get paid for and magically work out to your mode of life and your poor choices to balance family life.

2015 years 10 months ago

the only hope for film industry members is the grant proposal in the Senate or the Governor’s proposal.

Mature wisdom would be to work within the legislative system to secure the best alternative.

Have not seen much maturity. Will remain to be seen if the rabid dog approach will resurface.

2015 years 10 months ago

I would not call their approach rabid.

I should caution though that because the House ended he incentives program as we know it that the end result could be even less than what the senate has proposed.
This could go back a forth for awhile IMHO.
The Senate may feel emboldened enough by the House subcommittee vote to completely end all incentives now…….
We shall see…..

2015 years 10 months ago

It’s funny an industry full of liberals supporting Obama’s “Spread the Wealth”, doesn’t want to “Pay Their Fair Share”….

2015 years 10 months ago

Ironic is conservatives opposing tax breaks that would keep actual jobs in NC, yet supporting tax breaks for large corporations who create minimal jobs, pollute our air and water, don’t live up to their end of the deal (see Wilmington’s PPD facility which failed to meet the minimum number of jobs, yet received their city tax break anyway), demand upgrades to the infrastructure at tax payer expense, ship jobs overseas the very second it boosts their bottom line, and will leave you with an empty “industrial park” the second another state offers them a sweeter deal. Now, that’s Ironic.

thomas Picone
2015 years 10 months ago

What is Thom Goolsby doing to help ?

2015 years 10 months ago

which has a budget including grants for film projects. Spells out how much; where the money’s coming from; and sets a maximum limit for total payout during the fiscal year.

Other than snarling and griping, what is Suzi Hamilton doing?

2015 years 10 months ago

Hey, Walter……….Grammar is spelled with an “A”, not an “E”. Now, what were you saying about “home skoolin'”.

NC Politics Suck
2015 years 10 months ago

Really? You don’t even get that Walter was being sarcastic?? Geez, what a moron.

Heimie Schmelter
2015 years 10 months ago

…because this is a non-revenue tax break that’s a losing deal. That is exactly where the bottom line is. The numbers do not work out. If the state were able to see a REAL money advantage to giving the tax break, they would be all over it!

It just isn’t there. From the State’s perspective there’s more to it than just providing a few temporary jobs that cause you to lose money. Economics 101.

2015 years 10 months ago

Georgia is laughing all the way to the bank.

2015 years 10 months ago

Being a rock roadie with Hawkwind would’ve been a lot more fun, too. Movies are boring. Popular culture is stagnant.

2015 years 10 months ago

“A good business degree might put you first in line for a $10 an hour retail job…oh that’s right retail is for “losers” so lets pay them $8.25. I have a lot of bartender friends that are engineers, good thing their tips can pay off a potion of their student debt. You must be speaking about doctors, because nurses and other medical personnel are required to go to school for 4-7 years to make an average of $30,000 if they are lucky enough to get hired”.

So what do you consider a good business degree, a M.B.A or one earned from an Ivy league school, either way the opportunity for a job more than $10 a hour is out there. Engineers earn over 50K+ a year and I know L.P.N’s which is a 2 year degree earn more than 30K per year.

“The idiocy of your commentary is overwhelming”.

2015 years 10 months ago

The idiocy of your commentary is overwhelming. A good business degree might put you first in line for a $10 an hour retail job…oh that’s right retail is for “losers” so lets pay them $8.25. I have a lot of bartender friends that are engineers, good thing their tips can pay off a potion of their student debt. You must be speaking about doctors, because nurses and other medical personnel are required to go to school for 4-7 years to make an average of $30,000 if they are lucky enough to get hired. It is 2014, the year when morons like you get to attack a person’s livelihood and career choice because you think you have the solution. The real end-game here is killing the film industry. You hate it, you hate it’s supposed liberal-ism, which is a complete fantasy. You want Wilmington to go back to the conservative fiction of Mayberry, which never existed and is a product of the industry you so despise. How about this, take your own advice since career changes are so easy to you. Become a film maker and make the “family-friendly” stuff you want to see. The subsidies fiction was rammed down your throat by no less than the Koch brothers media machine. You didn’t even notice it before you were told to notice it. Bottom line, I know several mom and pop businesses that make their living off of the film industry. These people are going to be hurt, and yes many of them are god-fearing conservatives like yourself. So take a minute and breathe and stop being angry about something that had no effect on your life, till you were told by a bunch of idiots to be angry about it. If the money is not spent by the film industry there is nothing to rebate. The Kochs want you to believe there are coffers with millions of dollars sitting around and Hollywood gets a blank check. That is not true, and the “education money” that will supposedly be saved is going to go to buying teachers out of any job security so they can make a wage more in line with the rest of the country. Your beloved Walmart takes billions in corporate welfare and you do not complain. The oil companies spend a gallon of gas to make a gallon of gas and not a peep. Yet, some guy learns a craft to feed his family that you don’t agree with you and attack him. Stop watching Fox, read a good book, and wake the F up.

2015 years 10 months ago

Thought I’d address a few of your points. I’ve included some numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources.

– Average NC salary for undergraduate degree in Business Administration … $44,706 with in excess of 70% receiving job offers right from college. Other business degrees post even higher earnings.
– Average NC salary for RN nurses is in excess of $50,000 with many sources stating an average in excess of $60,000.
– Been in food and beverage industry for years now. Can’t recall ever seeing an engineer who was bartending although an anomaly is always possible. Generic NC salary is $52,000 with many much higher.
– “The real end-game here is killing the film industry … Real end game here is killing the subsidy, because it costs more money than it takes in.
– “subsidies fiction was rammed down your throat by no less than the Koch brothers” (when in doubt, bring up the Koch brothers, that’s always polarizing) … Wrong again. Started in Canada and since then the film industry is trying to play states off one another with it in order to continue it.
– “stop being angry about something that had no effect on your life” … If NC loses money on the subsidies, that difference is made up with my tax dollars. That’s a pretty obvious effect on my life.
– “”education money” that will supposedly be saved is going to go to buying teachers out of any job security so they can make a wage more in line with the rest of the country” … More in line with the rest? Like all of those people without tenure? If you want to be like all the rest, give up the tenure and be like the rest. Can’t have it both ways.
– “Walmart (probably meant Wal-Mart?) takes billions in corporate welfare and you do not complain” … Of course we do.
– “some guy learns a craft to feed his family that you don’t agree with you and attack him” … As long as it’s legal, no one really cares what you choose to do for a living, as long as you don’t blatantly demand a bribe to do it.

Bottom line: Your numbers are totally fictitious and your argument conjectural at best. Looks like your game plan was to throw a whole bunch of crap up at a wall and hope some of it sticks. Not a terribly effective plan of action.

(Do have to give you credit for the user name though. “Machiavel” is clearly a tribute to Machiavelli. Wikipedia characterizes Machiavellianism as a “duplicitous interpersonal style associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality.” Good choice.)

2015 years 10 months ago

I got my facts out in the workforce. I am talking about out of the gate earning. Being 22 or so with more than $30,000 in debts for en undergrad degree-

“The average Class of 2014 graduate with student-loan debt has to pay back some $33,000, according to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher at Edvisors, a group of web sites about planning and paying for college. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago.”

Let me guess, you are over 35. Yeah I know plenty of 40 year olds where this is not the case. The previous poster was talking about initial choices in life, as if there was guaranteed security by choice of degree- yes maybe in the 90s. The idiocy comes in when an assumption is made that everyone can just rewire their brain and wake up one day and say medicine or engineering is for me. This person who chose an honest job which is a craft, like building sets, has not let themselves down; our rigged system of what we deem worth money has. No one seems to see that we are making ourselves redundant. If no jobs pay livable wages, and yes an M.D. will still make money, we are fundamentally screwed. If you think an M.B.A is a guarantee of a job, I will fill a room with unemployed M.B.A.s carrying more education debt than just $33,000. Please for the safety of all, pull yourselves away from Fox and Friends and get out and talk to people.

2015 years 10 months ago

“Always remember, Obama rolls downhill.” Yeah I guess I was totally wrong about your political affiliation. You must be one of the great liberal thinkers of our time.

2015 years 10 months ago

Well said Chef. You have demonstrated something that many of those with whom you disagree repeatedly fail to do: You did the research to present a viscous pack of facts in support of your position. I would suspect that this is one of the qualities that has aided you in your success.

Further, you managed to make cogent arguments without introducing a straw man. And you did so without ad hominem attacks. You clearly have not read or perhaps have simply rejected their playbook. Bravo!

2015 years 10 months ago

Wow, your stats look great, if they exist in your world I want to live there. Hate to bust that bubble, but you clearly do not work in the bar industry, or let me guess you are Food and Beverage? Which is management not service. Secondly, have you tried to get work in Wilmington lately? Clearly not. If you did you would see that the numbers you quote, which are adjusted based on places like Charlotte-where 270 of the Fortune 500 companies have a presence, are way off. Take Charlotte out of the equation and you have nothing. Yes, the name is indeed based on Machiavelli, the person that wrote a guidebook on how to maintain a governing structure for Lorenzo Medici. So here is a quote from the man-

“…the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it.”

2015 years 10 months ago

– Food and Beverage is an industry that, among other things includes all bars and restaurants and all of the people that work in them regardless of whether they are in management or service. Although there are restaurants without bars, I’ve never worked in one and have had the pleasure of knowing quite a few bartenders over the years. None of them had engineering degrees.

– Instead of using numbers adjusted for places like Charlotte, let me give you specific Wilmington area numbers: The median Wilmington RN salary according to several sources is between $50,000 and $60,000. Among other sources, feel free to use these links: http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-RN-l-Wilmington,-NC.html. and http://www1.salary.com/NC/Wilmington/Staff-Nurse-RN-salary.html and also http://salaries-by-city.findthedata.org/d/a/North-Carolina/Wilmington.

Bottom line: You’re wrong on both points and two wrongs don’t make you right.


2015 years 10 months ago

then I will list a bunch of links countering that, and we will go back and forth. I have worked in the restaurant industry on and off for 20 years. In the 90s, I worked with students and artists. In the 00’s I started to see teachers, attorneys, and lots of folks with undergraduate degrees in business. In the present economy the last bar I was associated with had no less than a DPT(Doctorate in Physical Therapy a highly competitive 7 year degree, several PHDs,3 M.B.As and countless business folks from ex banking to stocks all tending bar or hosting. Many are in their late 20s to early 40s. Bottom line is actual experience in the field is counter to many of the published numbers. The landscape is shifting, and the numbers I am listing aside from the college debt figures I quoted are from real in the field experience. If you are in your early 20s and fresh out of school you are in dire straits. Yes, I have taught in higher education too(again real experience not online numbers), and between 50% to 80% of the kids were moving home post college. Honestly I am pissed that faux-libertarian propaganda has made everyone forget. We are not lazy, and just because someone’s lot in life was to work 50 hours a week in retail does not make them a screw-up. There was a time when honest hard work was respected, now it is mocked. Education is also under attack- so back to the incentives madness. What we have been told is that the tax dollars that magically exist can supposedly go to education. The Governor wants to abolish tenure, he is basically saying to teachers- exchange job security for a bit of higher pay. Even with the raise in pay Carolina is in the bottom of the US for teacher pay. The only incentive to be paid just above poverty level wages for teaching was job security. Again like the poster who told the set builder he should have went into a better paying career, the conservative POV will say- well you chose a bad paying career it’s not our fault. So if everyone wakes up and sees that teaching is a losing prospect and leaves, where does that leave us as a nation? Just FYI no one in high paying government jobs has their kids in public school, yes not even the President. So in the end, the constant Fox News driven lie that people should just choose a better career is complete nonsense. What if everyone takes the advice and goes into medicine, or engineering, or business? Who paves the roads, or sells clothes, or builds anything really? Why would anyone in their right mind teach with low pay and no security? In the end, the incentives have been here for many years and no one noticed except the people whose lives depend on them. When they are gone, so is the industry and the collateral damage, which cannot be quantified until it is too late, will be done. If the end game is indeed religious or political, and it is about destroying the presence of the great liberal evil that is Hollywood, then these are sad days indeed.

Heimie Schmelter
2015 years 10 months ago

Re-read what you wrote (if possible), then determine where the anger resides. You attempt to berate me by name-calling, making accusations of political affiliation and assumptions as to who I follow and who I do not, what I read and what news you think I may watch? I can assure you that you know absolutely nothing about me.
First, let me inform you that I do not need a career change. I went to college, received my degree and worked myself up to the point that I am able to live comfortably at the beach and enjoy a number of luxuries, to include a wonderful family. Thousands of people graduate college with advanced degrees and have not a clue as to what to do with them. That isn’t my fault and isn’t the manner in which I pursued my education or my subsequent “opportunities” to advance my career.
We all have “choices” to make at many points in our lives, some choose the easy answers and go the hard way, others choose the difficult and seemingly insurmountable answers and receive their rewards for their hard work. My post never attacked anyone. It simply pointed to the fact that there are choices to be made early in life. What you want to do, how you want to do it, do you do it with or without a family and how is that going to be accomplished are a few frontliners for serious consideration. “Aimless” stabbing at earning a living has serious limits and is where making good decisions will make a difference. Whining and bitching about why you’ve landed where you are due to your decision-making is inconsequential and pointless. Always remember, Obama rolls downhill.

2015 years 10 months ago

Thom Tillis better never show his face in New Hanover County again! Unbelievable!

2015 years 10 months ago

So we now have a notice up in the office that states “If the film incentives are lost so are your jobs”. But the good part is we are supplying employees with applications for the financial aid program (charity care) at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Food Stamp applications.

2015 years 10 months ago

Maybe it’s time for you learn how to put together a coherent sentence.

Walter Bowden
2015 years 10 months ago

Looks like you learned your grammer and spelling being home skooled where 2 + 2 = apple.

wilm city here
2015 years 10 months ago

its time for them to pack up and leave u not welcome in wilm or nc republicans so time to go, go where are welcome

Raymond Henri Smith
2015 years 10 months ago

I’m sorry. Usually I let these things go, but I cannot allow others to believe what’s said. The current incentive is a tax rebate after receipts have been submitted to verify the money spent in the state. Therefore, it’s revenue based on at least two counts. The proposed McCrory grant program is the one that is not revenue based. I know our incentives have been called a Hollywood handout to make them sound like all the money goes to some hippies in another state, but North Carolina film makers also benefit.

Raymond Henri Smith
2015 years 10 months ago

As far as Economics 101 goes, what’s more: 75% of hundreds of millions? Or 100% of nothing? Georgia’s bank is far from broken and they give a 30% incentive. They routinely do billions of dollars in film and tv (currently supporting 33 projects). I think they’ve figured out this is a money maker.

2015 years 10 months ago

I,am with guestwho. Maybe wilm should pack up and leave.


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