Wilmington, New Hanover leaders push for legislative session on film incentives

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Submitted: Thu, 08/28/2014 - 8:52pm
Updated: Fri, 08/29/2014 - 12:47am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Local leaders are asking state leaders to call lawmakers back to Raleigh to discuss film incentives.

Members of the New Hanover County Commission and Wilmington City Council signed a joint letter to Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger yesterday asking them to call for a special legislative session to “reconsider film incentives that will better serve North Carolina in remaining marketable and competitive” in the film industry.

“For over three decades, our region has served as a hub for film in North Carolina and the United States,” the letter reads. “This clean and innovative industry and the numerous video, television and film productions it generates bring great notoriety and revenue to both our region and the state. However, the lack of action by the General Assembly to sustain a strong incentive program puts in jeopardy this existing industry, state and local economies, associated investments, infrastructure, tourism, and many varied direct and indirect jobs.”

Along with the letter, leaders sent copies of the New Hanover County video “Economic Development – the Film Industry” was included with each letter.

The state budget adopted last month makes significant changes and cuts to the current film incentive plan. Critics of it say it could lead to the death of North Carolina’s film industry, which has included numerous movies and TV shows, many of which shot in and around Wilmington.

A spokesman for the governor says there is no update on calling a special session.


  • Heimie Schmelter says:

    DAK is a mexico based company. They shut down operations here for cheaper labor. Can you imagine the Mexicans doing that? Nahhhhh…

    Mundy Maintenance, they had an extensive maintenance contract at DAK and lost those jobs just like the DAK employees, not needed. Mundy also lost their GE contract due to being outbid by a competitor to provide those services. Rampage Yachts is simply another one of the hundreds of boat builders that have gone under because of the very weak economy. In case most of you haven’t noticed the “yacht market” both new and used, is in a very deep ditch and has been for years. Another luxury industry that goes to sleep when the economy does. But no, you didn’t see a single film supporter stand up and complain about any of the job losses that fell outside of their venue! Never have, never will.

    These were all legitimate business enterprises and they did not depend on incentives even close to what that dollar sucking film industry is grabbing. These film people know what they’re getting and how easy it is. The state realizes it is a negative revenue hole. The gravy train is over in NC!

  • Vog46 says:

    That targeted incentives don’t work:


    Why did Texas win? They bid HALF what NC did.
    “North Carolina’s offer had to be significantly larger than Texas to be competitive because the Lone Star State has no corporate or income tax, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said in an interview last week. Companies on the move compare the total cost of its new site and the total financial package offered to coax them, Decker said.”

    Individual and industry incentives DO NOT WORK !!!!!
    Offer lowered income and corporate taxes – THAT WORKS.
    Living breathing examples right in front of your eyes.

    It is time. time to start this insanity on film incentives and incentives in general. Texas is unique in that they have oil income to play with that allows for having no income or corporate taxes. This allows them to be VERY competitive.
    NC on the other hand has a projected revenue shortfall and no other incomes streams from fracking and or oil drilling.
    But even the Texas Legislature is concerned about Perrys incentive programs:

    Indeed, NC isn’t looking at it this way. $100,000,000 for 3000 jobs seems too steep at $33,333 per job. Again we need to look at lowering corporate taxes, and income taxes. the question is where will we get the money to make up that loss?

    The “hits” to film industry supporters arguments just keep on coming.


  • Theresa says:

    I am more then willing and have made available to my employees who are losing there jobs applications for state aid, welfare, food stamps, New Hanover Regional Charity Care.Looks like a lot of people are going to be in need,not just my prior employees but people that counted on the film industry. Wonder what is going to happen to our taxes? Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My

  • Vog46 says:

    How much of this will be blamed on loss of film incentives?


    It’s not just you. Nobody has seen a good movie lately.

    Or at least if they have, it isn’t in a theater. Ticket sales to movie theaters in the U.S. and Canada are expected to sink to about $3.9 billion, a 15 percent decline when compared to summer of 2013, according to box office company Rentrak. In July, box office sales were down 30 percent, the New York Times reports.

    For the first time in 13 years, no summer film netted $300 million in ticket sales domestically. Not even Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the highly-anticipated superhero film that led this summer’s box office sales, could save the summer. And as Vox notes, a dry summer is an especially hefty hit. Summer is when the film industry banks on people heading to theaters, typically producing the greatest months of ticket sales.

    It wasn’t just the summer’s top-selling flicks that disappointed. Flops were plentiful. Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables 3,” the star-studded “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” the critically-touted “Edge of Tomorrow,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” and Cameron Diaz’s saucy “Sex Tape,” all fell short of expectations. And don’t forget about the sequels! The summer had plenty of them, but audiences weren’t having much to do with them. Sales to “Transformers: Age of Extinction, “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” “Think Like a Man Too,” and “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ saw declines in sales compared to previous summer’s installments, the New York Times reports.

    Analysts had predicted a drop due to new entertainment options such as online streaming, marquee television events like the World Cup, and scuttled movie release plans. But the worst summer in box office ticket sales since 1997 caught analysts and the industry off guard. “It’s a noticeable difference,” Phil Contrino, the chief analyst at BoxOffice.com told Vox, adding, “We really needed more films that ended up in the $80 million-$150 million range domestically. That would have helped compensate for the tentpoles that ended up underperforming slightly.”

    While the film industry may try to brush off the poor showing with the argument that the movie making business is more concerned with global markets these days, overseas sales don’t pack the box office punch of domestic sales. The New York Times notes that in China, Hollywood sees as little as 25 percent of box office sales, compared to 50 percent from sales in the U.S.

    Is the dearth of summer hits a fluke? “The movie industry is cyclical, and we’re definitely in a down year, but that has a lot to do with the fact that 2015’s slate is so impressive,” industry analyst Contrino told Vox. “Many of the strongest franchises are lined up for 2015, and 2014 has suffered as a result.”

    But does that mean movie goers will lineup? Or are they already settled in to stream “Game Of Thrones” from the comfort of their own couch?
    Feature film production is down from a decade ago if I remember correctly……..
    So do other industries get hand outs from the government when their business goes bad?
    Do other industries get 25% of their operating budgets given back to them?


  • Theresa says:

    You you idiot, I’m responding to you whoever you are and your other fake name you write under. What do you know about my business? Come our of the shadows and come over to the office and have a talk. You are spouting off false facts about my company and employees you know nothing about. You are angered over the truth and I would bet you are a person who is sucking the system as dry as you can. And apologies to Johnny Griffin for the typo in the post., but you should feel great I know how to spell your name……… L-O-S-E-R.

  • Vog46 says:


    “ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A time few could imagine during the not-too-distant glory days of casino gambling has arrived in Atlantic City, where two casinos will close this weekend and a third will shut down in two weeks.

    More than 5,000 workers will lose their jobs in an unprecedented weekend in the seaside gambling resort, leaving many feeling betrayed by a system that once promised stable, well-paying jobs.

    The Showboat is closing Sunday, followed by Revel on Monday and Tuesday. Trump Plaza is next, closing Sept. 16. To the thousands who will be left behind, it still seems unreal.

    “We never thought this would happen,” said Chris Ireland, who has been a bartender at the Showboat since it opened. His wife works there, too, as a cocktail server. Before dinnertime Sunday, neither will have a job.

    What makes it even tougher to swallow is that the Showboat – one of four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment – is still turning a profit. But the company says it is closing Showboat to help reduce the total number of casinos in Atlantic City. Caesars also teamed with Tropicana Entertainment to buy the Atlantic Club last December and close it in January.

    “They just want to eliminate competition,” Ireland said. “Everyone’s in favor of a free market until it doesn’t exactly work for them.”

    Yet many analysts and casino executives say the painful contraction now shrinking Atlantic City’s casino market is exactly what the city needs to survive. Since 2006, Atlantic City’s casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion to $2.86 billion last year, and it will fall further this year. Atlantic City will end the year with eight casinos after beginning the year with 12.

    New casinos popping up in an already saturated Northeastern U.S. gambling market aren’t expanding the overall pie but are slicing it into ever-smaller pieces. Fewer casinos could mean better financial performance for the survivors.

    Resorts Casino Hotel, which was on the verge of closing a few years ago, completed a remarkable turnaround in the second quarter of this year, swinging from a $1.3 million loss last year to a $1.9 million profit this year.

    “I truly believe that eight remaining casinos can all do very well when the gambling market is right-sized,” said Resorts president Mark Giannantonio.

    That may be true, but it is little comfort to workers who are losing their jobs. By the time Trump Plaza shuts down in two weeks, nearly 8,000 jobs – or a quarter of Atlantic City’s casino workforce – will be unemployed. A mass unemployment filing due to begin Wednesday is so large it has been booked into the city’s convention center.

    When casino gambling was approved by New Jersey voters in 1976, it was billed as a way to revitalize Atlantic City and provide stable, lasting jobs. The first casino, Resorts, opened in 1978, kicking off three decades of soaring revenue and employment.

    But the Great Recession hit just as new casinos were popping up in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York, cutting deeply into Atlantic City’s customer base.

    “There was a promise when casinos came in here that these would be good, viable jobs, something you could raise your family on and have a decent life with,” said Paul Smith, a cook at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. “I feel so bad for all these people losing their jobs. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

    Mayor Don Guardian says his city is remaking itself as a more multifaceted destination, where gambling is only part of the allure. But he acknowledges the pain this weekend will bring.

    “This is going to be a difficult few weeks for many of us in Atlantic City,” he said. “People will lose their jobs, and that is never good news. Our hearts go out to our neighbors and friends. We still have difficult waters to navigate.”


    Perhaps they should take a “Massive” picture?

    Hire Johnny Griffith to solicit for government funds?


  • James Mandal says:

    After reading some of the posts below, it comes as no surprise to me that you would threaten the taxpayers of NC with additional burdens, by turning others on to the concept of taking handouts from others. Apparently, you have allowed yourself to become very qualified in this area.

    When I combine the contents of this post with your unapologetic implication below that anyone against continuing incentives is against supporting out American soldiers, one thing becomes very apparent: You have given yourself the freedom of having no limits on trying to get what you want, regardless of the concepts of right and wrong.

    Unfortunately, these posts of yours really do speak volumes about your character. Very sad.

    (Please save us all from another one of your mindless non-specific responses about cowards and testicles in jars by just not replying to this post. Thanks.)

  • machiavel says:

    I’ll just leave this here…..

    The first reviews are in and they’re bad: The audience walked out. The sequels may be worse. Somebody needs to rewrite the script. Fast.

    When state lawmakers decided they didn’t like economic-development incentives, and they especially hated giving them to the film industry, there were dire predictions about what would happen if they killed them.

    They killed them anyway. Just a few weeks from the General Assembly’s adjournment, the first of the dire predictions came to pass. More are coming.

    WCNC in Charlotte reports that production of the cable TV show “Banshee” is pulling out of Charlotte and heading to New Orleans. The change is a direct result of lawmakers’ decision to let North Carolina’s film-industry tax credits die.

    The action-drama series first appeared on the Cinemax network. City officials say at least four other shows were considering shooting in Charlotte but dropped the city after the legislature refused to reauthorize the incentive program.

    The bottom line for Charlotte: an estimated $40 million loss. That’s a lot of popcorn. How much more business will we lose before ideologue lawmakers see that the game may stink, but we’ve got to play it if we want to prosper?

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/29/4106312_a-40-million-loss-as-film-crew.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

  • Theresa says:

    No limits, no character, blah,blah,blah. You do an awful lot of talking and preaching about your beliefs while hiding behind in the shadows in fear that people will link what you are with who you are. You speak down about people like Iohnny Griffith , the film community and me but we are the people who have put ourselves out there for the community. You seem offended by the fact I mention my military men and women being out of jobs but I am one of the ones that deal with them coming into my office still not comfortable with dealing with civilian life. And if you think for a moment people are falling over themselves to hire these hero’s you need to get better educated with the real world. If it offends you senses that it pisses me off to see them get the shaft because a handful of politicians don’t give a dam well I really don’t care. But if that bothers you then here’s another fact… I will probably be left to terminate a few prior law enforcement officers and seniors who are supplementing their incomes. You are right about “No Limits”. There are none when it comes to the fall out not having a film incentive will cause. Not just for my people or my company or me. There are a lot of companies that will suffer far more.But as long as your comfortable ,screw everyone else I guess. Glad I can’t compare my moral character to yours.

    Sent from my iPad

  • Machiavel says:

    Well the anti-incentive lobby won, so I guess we can all expect to see our lives change for the better. The state coffers should be over flowing with cash now that liberal Hollywood is not robbing the people of NC. Oh yeah, that’s right all the money that has been hypothetically saved never existed in the first place. Congrats you’ve proven nothing.

  • Vog46 says:


    Pg 2 Fiscal return per $1 credit: State…………State & Local

    THATS the savings.
    And I happen to believe the FRD numbers were generous – some studies indicate that states only get as low as 0.19 for every dollar invested.

    Now will revenues decrease? Sure – they have to. Film workers WILL collect unemployment even though they say they don’t know anyone that does, but given the average unemployment numbers for film workers is at 10% nationwide I’d venture a guess to say they will file for UI bennys – besides they want to prove a point – so they will do ANYTHING at this point to satisfy their desire to somehow “punish” the state and paint the picture much bleaker that it will be.

    This is the sign of a group of VERY arrogant people who think they are above everyone else. They need to talk to the workers from DAK, Rampage Yachts, and the thousands of banking folks who lost jobs in Charlotte over the last few years. There were no “massive photo’s” no special sessions of the Legislature, and no “continuous” tax breaks for many of their industries – so why should film folks get all of this?


  • Machiavel says:

    And where was your outrage then? BTW ever try to live off of unemployment? I seem to remember something related to this, oh that’s right the unemployment insurance that these workers have been paying into….keep up with the magical numbers and magical thinking, I’m intrigued.

  • Machiavel says:

    Yes, other industries don’t get 25% back, they get more- Auto(GM), Banking(Wells Fargo, B of A, Fracking, and your beloved Walmart….why don’t you just admit you hate the perceived liberal threat that the film industry represents.

  • Vog46 says:

    Texas Legislators are questoning incentives:


    “Texas has given out more than $500 million from the Enterprise Fund — and hundreds of millions of dollars more in local property tax breaks — to entice businesses to the Lone Star State. But many legislators there now question why Texas has paid so much to companies that account for a tiny fraction of the state’s job growth.

    Outside groups for years have alleged that Perry has overstated the number of jobs created; failed to recoup money from companies that break job-creation promises; and steered funds toward well-connected campaign donors.

    The Texas Enterprise Fund showered $40 million this year on Toyota Motor Corp. when the company announced plans to move its North American headquarters from Torrance to Plano.”

    Um yeah – incentive are NOT such a great idea.
    Now Texas DOES have another advantage – oil revenues which allows for LOWERED tax rates for all but the Legislature is questioning this now.
    As they will in Gerogia
    SC already tried to get rid of incentives but the LEgislature over roded Sanfords veto – even after a scathing report about incentives from that university economics professor.
    Film incentives are part economic but blatantly political incentives.
    They are a colossal waste of taxpayer monies.


  • Theresa says:

    Bet Georgis is happy about our stupid selfish politicians

  • Rusty says:

    Ok; all states do some incentives that “may” not be sound, is it really so bad that ours is for film? I’d rather still be known as Hollywood East than “yeah we build KIAs here”. Pride isn’t something you can easily attach a Dollar figure to but I like that my online friends know that their favorite shows or movies were filmed here.

    There are a lot of other programs that are not economically viable, why do so many jump on this one? (Assuming it is) Start looking at other wasteful programs and put the same vitriol and energy into those and maybe we’d be on track to a better budget..

  • Concerned says:

    Why haven’t you reported on Sleepy Hollow heading to Chicago after this season? Seems like big news to me.

  • Vog46 says:

    I have at times gotten on my high horse against CERTAIN wasteful spending projects – including the ballpark and film incentives, both of which are local stories.

    On the other hand where were film supporters when the employees of DAK, Mundy Maintenance, and Rampage Yachts lost their jobs? This is a sword that cuts both ways. To rail that filming and filming only affects the local economy to the exclusion of all other job losses is disingenuous and self serving at best.


  • Vog46 says:

    the workers pay in to UI – but do pass through out of state corporations pay? If they are indeed tax free do they pay into the UI system?
    I don’t believe they do – which is another “give me” for the industry.

    I’m intrigued as well……

  • joshjenkins says:

    How is it that Georgia –a Republican RED state–gets that FILM=JOBS and our so-called representatives, Rick Catlin, Chris Millis and Governor McCrory DON’T? Are they ALL getting backdoor money from Georgia? Catlin is from Georgia after all!

    NC was once THIRD in film production after CA and NY. Our politicians have let jobs and businesses literally fall into our competitors laps. Shame on them.

  • Vog46 says:

    Georgia law does not allow the state of Georgia to release any information as to the effectiveness of their film incentives so neither film supporters nor film detractors can claim that Georgia benefits or suffers from film incentives.
    keep trying though
    Ever thought of opening a branch office in georgia – this would benefit you and your part timers…..


  • 10101 says:

    The above poster used an actual name (looks like you just throw out that “hiding” thing regardless) and never even mentioned Johnny Griffin (as knowledgeable as you claim to be about film, one would think you’d be able to at least spell his name correctly).

    Looks like you’ve just upped your bull droppings ante yet once again. Now, if you don’t support continuing incentives, you’re not only against supporting our American troops, you’re also against prior (which I guess means retired) law enforcement officers and seniors who need to supplement their incomes? Are you sure you didn’t leave anyone out, or are you just waiting for your next post to add some more? Maybe you can also figure out some way to say that we’re all against our own mothers, the Fourth of July, apple pie and the American flag as well. You might as well; you’ve already decided to say ANYTHING you can, as long as it might preserve your own personal income.

    The bottom line is pretty obvious: You employ people on an occasional part-time basis as security guards. By occasionally working for you, they are marginally able to augment their income. You pay them very little and keep a considerable portion of what you rent them out for as your personal profit. While they all make next to nothing working for you, when you add up all of the little profits from renting them, YOU make a full time living. That’s what you’re REALLY trying to protect.

    You could have taken the high road and just inferred that losing incentives will hurt your company’s bottom line. You didn’t. You chose instead to try the quick and dirty approach. That pretty much puts you in a class by yourself; the no-class class.

    To quote yourself in this post: “No limits, no character, blah,blah,blah”

  • 8844 says:

    OK, I’ll be the first one to admit that I just don’t get it. Why do we place such a high value on anyone who manages to get his or her face exposed to others on a TV or movie screen? What makes that so much more important than so many other things? Like I said “I don’t get it”, but apparently the movie and TV industry really does. They have totally convinced many of you that this is where it’s at. If that wasn’t really the case, the term “Reality Star” wouldn’t even exist. If that wasn’t the case, the film industry would never have had the temerity to begin playing one area of the country against another for extortion money in the first place. In my humble opinion, this has got to stop. It’s time to get back to the America where real values are appreciated instead of some of the phony values that are being sold to us by money-making industries.

    Having said that, your post now becomes one of those lines in the sand. It becomes one crazy “value” too far.

    I can think of NO sane reason whatsoever why I should spend MY money so that YOU can LIKE having your “online friends know that their favorite shows or movies were filmed here.”

  • Vog46 says:

    Even Georgia is going to lose out now:

    Bill to triple California film tax credits clears the Legislature

    By RICHARD VERRIER contact the reporter Laws and LegislationCredit and DebtTaxation
    California Senate approves film tax credit bill to increase incentives to $330 million a year for five years
    A bill that would more than triple funding for California’s film and TV tax credit program was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate and Assembly on Friday.

    The Senate, as expected, on Friday approved by a 32-to-2 vote legislation that would increase funding for the state’s film incentives to $330 million a year for five years, a substantial boost from the $100 million a year currently allocated under the film program.

    The bill also cleared the Assembly by a 72-to-0 vote.

    The vote comes two days after Gov. Jerry Brown signaled his support for the bill as part of a last-minute compromise hashed out with the state’s legislative leaders.

    The law is intended to make California more competitive with rival states such as New York, Georgia and Louisiana that have gained a larger share of the movie and TV business in the last decade.

    In addition to boosting funding, the bill allows more projects to qualify for subsidies, including big-budget studio movies and new network dramas and television pilots.

    It also would phase out a lottery system that is used to select applicants for tax credits. Instead, projects would be selected based on how many jobs they would create.

    The funding would take effect in July 2015, and it will go to Brown’s desk for his signature sometime next month.

    So even IF NC were to have the same old incentive program that we did before it would be woefully inadequate based upon what California is doing. So, should NC outbid CA?
    Why did CA do this? Quite frankly, they have the funds. The fracking boom in CA, and their economy has recovered. We are facing a huge revenue shortfall which may have been self induced. We could argue that point ad nauseum.

    So should NC, GA, and Sc RAISE the bar even higher to compete with CA? Or did CA just demolish the film industries in those states with this HUGE increase?
    This is a war that shouldn’t be fought. It is a race to the bottom.
    In spite of it all there is still NO EVIDENCE to show that film incentives produce and economic benefit.
    Yet some states continue on with this type of activity.
    This has nothing to do with economics anymore. CA just made it political.
    NC may have gone in the right direction, at the right time.


  • Machiavel says:

    They do indeed pay- the only kickback they get, or rather used to get, is the 25% tax rebate. Other than that they function like every other business. The unemployed workers do not suddenly get unemployment and welfare, the system is much more complex than that. The assumption that film workers will somehow operate differently than other workers is plainly unfair. Like anyone else, when they are out of a job they will seek other work. This tone of illegitimacy because they are craftspeople in an industry that you don’t like is troubling. I don’t happen to like soccer, should I say that the people that choose to play it professionally are idiots? I respect what they do, it just isn’t for me. I would suggest you give the hard working people in that industry a break. If they wanted to play the system, there are far better ways of doing than working in the arts.

  • Guest2020 says:

    Are you really saying that since NC wastes money in other ways, that they should just go ahead and waste money on the film incentives?

    Are you saying that we should waste money just to buy pride? Should the taxpayers shell out money they don’t have just so you can have bragging rights?

    You are wrong in your assumption about Vog not speaking to other wasteful programs. He was adamantly opposed to the stadium and he put as much time and energy into researching that issue has he has with this one.

  • Vog46 says:

    You think this is against the people working here?
    Apparently you haven’t read my postings close enough.

    So – if filming should be greatly reduced would it be because of NC getting rid of the current incentive plan? Or California INCREASING theirs to $371M?????
    If film supporters are right then filming will move back to CA because that’s where they’ll get the most $ – thereby screwing the workers here, in SC, GA, and LS.
    NC politicians capped the incentive – CA politicians just drove a stake through SEVERAL states incentive programs.
    There’s a “tone of illegitimacy” for you – being done in by their own industry cohorts……..


  • Rusty says:

    In no way did I call out Vog on his well thought out postings, don’t put that slur on me. He has his opinion as do I; yes there are many causes deserving (well probably not) gov’t $ and this is a hot button topic. Defend some of those as he has in the past..

  • trash says:

    The film industry is a thing of the past. Pack it up and move on. Let’s get something here that will make some real money. Build something like Walnut Creek.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    read the post. Someone is trying to create the impression yours truly made that post.

    Very poor attempt at creating a false impression.

  • Theresa Babb says:

    So I have a question. I have a couple of young men working for me that will come in to pick up paychecks today.Soon they leave to go train for another deployment, most likely to fight ISIS. With no film incentive I need to tell them they won’t have jobs waiting when they return. I don’t really want to be the one that tells them, since I didn’t cause this so, Is there anyone out there that can get a message to the politicians who didn’t support the film industry so they can tell these fine young hero’s they don’t have a job waiting for them? They might be a little upset being as they were pretty desperate for work when I hired them……..Tough luck for them uh?
    Who cares,I mean what are they doing to support us!

  • ChefnSurf says:

    Your company, A1 Security Services L.L.C., posts on its website that in addition to film production security, you provide services for:

    * Executive & VIP protective services
    * Government security
    * Retail Security
    * Hotel security.
    * Special event security.
    * Sports Events Security
    * Corporate office security
    * Office and office building security,
    * Industrial security including building security.
    * Private Investigation Services

    Why don’t you tell the rest of us why your company couldn’t find an opportunity for these young men in one of those very same areas you list on your website? In essence, if you’ve told them that film is the only area of security they could work in, you’re either lying to them or your website lies about what you do. Which one is it?

    Your basic implied premise here is way beyond vile, it’s despicable: If someone doesn’t support money losing film incentives, they are against supporting our troops, even if they are fine young heroes and are “most likely to fight ISIS”.

    I’ve seen a lot of crazy reasons in these posts in support of film incentives, but I really can’t even imagine anyone, with even the tiniest amount of morality within them, getting behind a concept as truly disgusting as this one. The only exception to that of course would obviously be you. What’s next; if you don’t support film incentives, you’re in favor of killing babies or something equally as heinous?

    As the CEO of a company that already has its hand out for extra advantages by claiming NC HUB Certified minority business status, it comes as no surprise that you would support other industries also looking for special advantages. Hey, I can live with that; you found a legal loophole and you’re gaming the system fair and square. Your post is another story. It defies anything even close to being moral. It is beyond twisted.

    Without a doubt, this is probably one of the most offensive posts I’ve ever read on this forum. If you have any morality at all, you should feel ashamed of yourself. Somehow, I doubt that you do.

  • Vog46 says:

    As a business owner I applaud your efforts to give our military personnel part time jobs to augment their income.
    Military folks are “hard” to employ – not because there’s anything wrong with THEM, but because they are always on the move with deployments or being stationed somewhere else. They accept this life style and embrace it.
    YOU, on the other hand are completely ignoring this fact of life and instead use this film incentive ending in a twisted fashion to argue that it will cost some military personnel their part time jobs.
    So we have an industry (filming) that is rife with sporadic work, and YOUR business that is full of “event only” security needs according to your website, and now YOU blame loss of “a couple” (your words, not mine) part time jobs on film incentives ending?
    Your argument is weak at best. You would have been far better off to just say “Hey MY business will be impacted by this” and let it go at that. But to imply somehow that nomadic employees working part time in a business that caters to nomadic events and try to tie that in to film incentives/ISIS is beyond me…….


  • SurfCityTom says:

    I believe her interest was in seeking the funds to lure an auto manufacturer to move its corporate headquarters to Charlotte from California.

    As it turned out, the firm is moving to Texas which offered 50% less in incentives than had NC.

    They had previously announced a special session, for after the election, to address medicaid reform and the coal ash issue.

  • Guestman. says:

    That “giant sucking sound”, to paraphrase Ross Perot, is the film industry going to our southern neighbors. It has already started in Charlotte and we will be the hardest hit.

  • 10101 says:

    “Each year we can make it worth their while is a reason they will do business here.” You could say the same thing about gangs extorting money from others for protection. The difference is, that in this case, you don’t even get any protection.

    It’s not about making it worthwhile for them. It’s about making it worthwhile for us, the taxpayers. Unfortunately, objective, non-film-industry studies have proven that to not be the case. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    No matter how you try and minimize it, the bottom line is still the bottom line.

  • WhooptyDoo says:

    Wait till the legislative session is over and THEN send a letter supporting film.

    Reason number 8,437 why I despise all politicians.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    they’re so desperate, they’ll say and do about anything if they think it will help their cause. Everything, that is, but prepare and implement an effective lobbying effort which should have begun in the spring of 2013.

    I believe they would get out the support for Brian Berger if there was the slightest chance he could promote their activities.

    You hit the button on the head; to be ashamed of this type of post, she would need a sense of morality.

  • Theresa Babb says:

    I love people like you that don’t have the nerve to have a face to face and get get the facts before you run your mouth about something you are proving you know nothing about.You sir are an idiot.

  • Theresa Babb says:

    Another cowardly good ole boy, Funny I’m the one looking out for our military guys and gals and your the one running your mouth.Talk about being ashamed of yourselves. Keep those tails between your legs and crawl back under your porches boys!

  • ChefnSurf says:

    If you actually had anything of a substantive nature to say in a response, this would have been the time to say it. You didn’t.

    Your inability to do so defines you more than any additional words ever could.

  • Theresa says:

    I sir am not hiding behind a fake name. I am willing to debate you anytime providing you come out from whom ever’s skirt.As soon as you can do this ask for you set that is sitting on the shelf in the jar and get in touch with me.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    guess again.

    I’m the one who, last spring, forecast just how the legislature would respond to lifting the expiration date.

    I’m the one who was in Raleigh and commented on the woefull and inadequate job being done by the film industry supporters.

    I also noted the numbers worked against incentives if one compared the number of teachers and state employees versus the number, which seemed to rise and fall with each blowhard post, of film industry supporters.

    I noted all of the doom and gloom posts were not the route to go.

    And I noted the film industry did a pitiful job in lobbying for what they would have us believe was necessary for the economic survival of the economy of NC.

    Think about the most recent photo op. 4,000 reported members for the film community family. Fewer than 400 show up in solidarity to send a strong message to the Legislature. Hardly 10% showed up.

    No wonder you supporters fail time after time.

    In case you missed it, the State Employees Association submitted a petition requestiing no special session be called.

    So how will this play out?

    The carrott will dangle on a string, at the end of a long pole, until the day after election results are in.

    Then surprise, no special session to discuss film incentives. Medicaid reform? Possibly. Coal Ash issues? Possibly.

    Must bug you that I’ve been spot on accurate on this topic. That comes from a basic understanding of civics; an ability to do simple math; and experience in legislative settings.

    Thanks for proving libral, entitlement seekers will resort to any means to try to fatten the pot from which they dip.

  • Theresa says:

    I sir am not hiding behind a fake name. I am willing to debate you anytime providing you can come out of hiding from under whom ever’s skirt.As soon as you can do this ask for your set that is sitting on the shelf in the jar and get in touch with me.

  • Joe says:

    My comment is to chefnsurf, and to anyone else who has no clue as to how the film incentive program actually worked. The film incentives were a tax REBATE, based on the NC employer taxes paid by a film production. There was some minor amount of grant money given to independent film, but the big productions didn’t get any of that. In order to recieve the tax credit, the film production had to first pay NC employer taxes. To put it in simple terms, I will give you $100 if you give me $25 back. You end up $75 richer. Apparently the NC politicians would rather the state receive no money from the film industry then to give back a portion of the employer taxes. The tax credit is based on employer taxes, and the loss of those taxes isn’t all that great. The big loss in state revenue will come from the thousands of crew members and supporting industries whose employees live and work in NC. Film productions and employees impact every single business in Wilmington, from the fast food industry, to car rentals, hotels, retail, building supply companies, trash service, etc. The resident film crew pays property taxes and income tax and sales tax, just like every other resident. The loss of film production and thousands of local jobs will decrease the amount of taxes collected by local and state government. These are the same taxes that keep the roads repaired and fund our police departments and public schools. Without the film industry, someone has to pick up the loss of tax income. Don’t be surprised when your tax bill goes up, and make sure to thank your politicians for it.

  • Vog46 says:

    Joe – a few comments.
    Film company’s don’t pay corporate taxes.
    “HB 713:

    Eliminates the 6.9% corporate income tax on the tax credit taken by a production company. This allows the production company to realize a full 25% of qualifying expenses”

    Second, the tax credit is based upon qualified EXPENSES, not taxes paid:

    From NC GS 105.130.47
    “that is a production company and has qualifying expenses of at
    least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) with respect to a production is allowed a credit against the taxes imposed by this Part equal to fifteen percent (15%) twenty-five percent (25%) of the production company’s qualifying expenses…..”

    Third- based upon the above laws from both the Legislature and your own film office you need to re-think your scenario.

    A film company SPENDS $100 here. At 5% taxed rate that means that all wages and sales taxes for goods and services are taxed – therefore the STATE collects $5 of that $100 SPENT. The STATE then refunds 25% of those expenditures to that film company that pays no corporate tax, or $25! It goes FAR beyond a rebate.
    So they pay BACK the taxes collected ($5) where does the OTHER $20 come from? Yep from ALL taxpayer taxes collected.
    Now that $75 does NOT stay here. Lets say they spent ALL of that $75 at Home Depot for set building supplies. Home Depot has to pay their suppliers etc. So Home Depot essentially profits at %4. Those profits go back to HD headquarters.
    The same holds true for local spending at enterprise car rentals etc.
    The question is how badly will the local economy be affected by a film exodus. Losing the revenues generated by filming may affect a very small number of local businesses because very few businesses rely SOLELY on filming. Will Hell’s Kitchen close? No hardly. HOme Depot won’t either.

    Finally you need to realize something else:
    Repeat – film company’s don;t pay corporate taxes.
    Second, when Jim Hunt talked to NH County commissioners they struck a “deal” whereby Dino got the land for the studio for $1 – yep $1. It was formerly the NH County landfill. It is considered “brownfield” or contaminated land. This type of land parcel is not normally taxed (Just like PPD’s land) at full value. The value of that type of land is greatly reduced.
    So, you have temporary company’s coming here, NOT paying corporate taxes, using a film studio that is not taxed to it’s full value as the land is brownfield land, THEN they get a 25% refund of operating EXPENSES – all for about 1000 people locally – if that?
    When you think about the total working population this is insignificant. When you think about film spending when NC’s economic output is $15T per year then film spending statewide is insignificant as well.
    Yet, they act as though the state will go into recession should filming stop. As my post title says “Oh boy…”
    Learn, read, and think about your position……


  • ChefnSurf says:

    You sound like an OK guy and your post, unlike so many of your fellow incentive proponents, simply presents a straightforward argument. That is a refreshing change. Unfortunately, the incentive program isn’t really the simple math you perceive it to be.

    Instead of me, laying out once again the actual economics involved, just go back through the many posts on this forum that have already done that. When you’ve done that, Google up the several objective studies (sorry I can’t include the film industry’s study, it has several proven flaws) on the incentive program. They’re not too hard to read and provide a comprehensive perspective on this issue. If you take the time to do that, you’ll have a better understanding of this entire process.

    No one is against the film industry being here. As long as it pays its own way, it would be as welcome an addition to our economy as any other business. Our politicians in particular would be climbing all over one another trying to claim the credit for a successful program if it really was just that. Unfortunately, Economics 101 says otherwise. What really draws the ire of some of us are the crazy, and sometimes offensive (as in most offensive below) illogical attacks.

    Thanks for your post and have a nice day.

  • Joe says:

    Vog, you are looking at the taxes from a short-sighted perspective. Your example of Home Depot is incorrect. Yes, Home Depot is based out of state, so their profit will not be taxable by North Carolina. The part you haven’t considered is that Home Depot has to pay it’s NC employees, who are subject to NC taxes, and has to pay the NC unemployment tax on those same employees. Those workers then spend their wages to pay their bills and expenses, creating another layer of NC taxes paid. At some point, the majority of dollars paid by the film industry in NC will end up out of state, probably ending at the IRS. But that is no different than any other employer, and every time a dollar bill changes hands in NC someone is paying taxes on it. A dollar paid here in NC might produce five cents in taxes for the state, or it might make hundreds of dollars in taxes, depending on how many times it changes hands here. The state government makes money by money being spent in their state. For example, if an auto manufacturer built a plant in NC, the state would make money off the taxes paid by the employees of that plant. The state would offer the auto company a sweet tax break to build their plant here. The state would most likely spend taxpayer money to give that auto plant an incentive to come here. In case you think that’s a hypothetical situation, look up the “NC Global Transpark”. Also look into the deal that NC tried in Greensboro years ago. How much money did North Carolina pour into those ideas? How much return did they see? NC has spent far more money to try to draw business here then they have ever spent on the film industry, and with far less return. New York State is offering an incentive to businesses moving into the state. They are offering 10 years tax free. Do you think they are doing that to lose money? By bringing businesses to their state, they are creating jobs for taxpayers. This feeds the local and state economy. This is the same with the film industry, which is much bigger in New York than it is in North Carolina. There’s an old saying that it takes money to make money. I disagree with your numbers, but let’s use them for a minute here. If NC gave away $61 million taxpayer dollars at the 25% of eligible film expenses, that would mean that $244 million was spent in NC. At the 5% tax rate that you mentioned, the $244 million spent here would only have to change hands 5 times in North Carolina to recoup the money paid out by the state. Try this; film production to crew member, crew member to retail store, retail employee to gas station, gas employee to food store, food employee to restaurant, restaurant employee to anywhere, and there’s your taxes paid back. As that cycle continues, NC keeps making money from taxes. Run that by your economist. By the way, make sure you read the new legislation that just passed. They may have cut out the film industry, but check out the open-ended budget on the “catalyst” program that offers up to $50 million to an eligible business.

  • Joe says:

    Yes, Home Depot will still have plenty of business and employees here. What you seem to forget is the millions of dollars of sales that Home Depot will lose. You haven’t mentioned my example of the Global Transpark either. NC spent about $200 million dollars to try to bring business here. Their biggest tenant leases a $100 million facility for $100 per year. At that rate, they will have it paid off in only one million years! That same tenant produces around $1.2 million in revenue for the state per year……but the operating costs are around $4.8 million, so the state has been losing $3.6 million per year since that tenant moved in. You repeatedly talk about the studio land being bought for $1, but you seem ignorant of the other deals that NC has made. The Global Transpark has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars since it began, and has been a loss every year since it was started in the 90’s. Do you lobby against that as well? You didnt comment on the catalyst program either. It is an incentive to awad businesses for coming to NC and creating jobs. You don’t talk about the “green” incentive programs that gives money and credits to Eco-friendly industries. There are many industries that have gotten a favored status from the state, yet you don’t even mention that. You post your comments as if the film industry is some massive drain on the state economy. You have mentioned the film incentive cap, so you do understand that a cap exists. Look at the payouts and caps of some of the other incentive programs.
    I’m curious as to what line of work you do and what industry you work for. You seem to pick and choose which programs to stand against. If you are against state spending, and what you determine to be a waste of money, then why don’t you look at these other programs as well? What programs do you believe are working or at least worthwhile?
    I work in the film support services. More than half of my family income comes from there. I pay my mortgage here, my wife works here, my kids go to school here. When my job goes away, I will try to find something locally, but will most likely end up following my work out of state. I’ll do what I need to do to continue to support my family.

  • Vog46 says:

    Home Depot will continue to pay it’s employees after film incentives go away.
    Why? Because HD does NOT rely exclusively on filming for it’s business so that money will indeed recirculate throughout NC’s economy film incentives or not.
    Nor will they lose any employees because filming stops because the amount spent by film company’s doesn’t amount to a speck of dust compared to the amount of sales for HD.

    As for state incentives I do agree they are not a good way to attract businesses. A lowered tax rate for businesses is far better at attracting long term investments here.

    I rank state giveaways from best to worst:
    1. – lowered corporate tax rates for ALL
    2. – targeted incentives for particular companies to come here.
    3. – targeted incentives for particular industries.

    #2 is typically a temporary incentive like the incentives given to say Verizon. They got local incentives in the form of property tax relief for 8 years (totally ONLY $875,000). The studio got their land for $1, and pay next to no property taxes on that land.

    #3 – is a very poor choice as well because it is picking and choosing.

    But film corporations get ALL 3. And they are transferable tax credits which are problematic:
    Pg 110
    “While transferable credits may be less desirable to filmmakers,
    they are as costly to the state. Tannenwald notes:
    Transferable tax credits are also lucrative deals for film producers
    and in the long run just as costly to the state. Producers can sell
    such credits to other companies that owe taxes to the state,
    regardless of their line of business. The sale is usually
    undertaken with the assistance of the state itself and/or a financial
    intermediary that packages purchased film tax credits from
    multiple states to make them more attractive to potential
    There is another little known wrinkle regarding transferable film credits that would likely draw public ire and greatly diminish their popularity in public opinion polls if it were ever widely reported: The players in the transferable film credit market. This group consists of large insurance companies and financial institutions that benefited from federal bailouts in recent years and are now profiting off of the backs of state taxpayers:
    Often, those purchasers are financial services firms. Insurance
    companies find purchases of film tax credits especially profitable,
    since they can use them to reduce taxes on premiums. Through
    the end of fiscal year 2009, insurance companies had purchased
    about half of all transferred Massachusetts film tax credits, for
    example, and other financial institutions had purchased about a
    quarter of them. In Connecticut, Bank of America and
    Wachovia—two large banking institutions that have recently
    benefited from federal financial assistance—purchased a
    combined $7 million in film tax credits in 2006 and 2007.93″

    Sen Bill “Rabies” Rabon alluded to “abuse” of the film incentives but provided no specifics. I wonder if the above ‘horse tradin’ of tax credits was what he alluded to?
    Until he comes clean with the info we’ll never know.
    And the number of MPAA member sponsored films released each year is declining – from the same reference pg 114:
    ” the number of films that get released each year is finite.
    With so many state incentives that effectively slash the cost of producing a movie by 25-40%, one might expect the raw number of films that get produced to increase. This has not been the case.
    The number of films released by MPAA member studios has
    generally declined since 1999, going from 200 (1999) to 162 (2008), as seen in the chart below.105 The number of independent films, however, has steadily increased over the same period.106″

    Now do the wages spent stay here? Same report pg 123 within the chart:
    DOR 2010….2009 78% of all wages paid to out of state workers – 51% of all non-wage expenses benefit out of state company’s”

    Was it worth it?
    same report same chart:”2009:
    $123,130for each new job created(residents and non-residents)
    $324,838 per Massachusetts resident 143

    That is COST per new job created.
    There is NO WAY for a state to recoup THAT loss through “wages changing hands” on an ongoing basis.

    But thats OK – beleive your own figures.


  • Vog46 says:

    I am against all incentives. The film incentive is the latest and greatest incentive program I’m against.
    I was against the ball park too because the city was giving the Braves a $57M incentive for locating a minor league team here with no ROI proven to exist except in their feeble industry sponsored studies.
    I am against the Global Transpark and always thought it to be a waste of money.
    I concentrate on this one because its a local issue (like the ball park).
    I am glad you admit that you are DIRECTLY affected by this as it clarifies your outlook on this issue – I applaud your honesty, but know as well as I do that it also clouds your ability to accept views that may be opposite your own.
    As I have told countless others here I firmly believe that this type of cap or limited incentive/grant program may have shown the way to other states.
    Intersting articl ein todays LA TImes about film incentives:

    “Louisiana awarded $251 million in film tax credits last year. That’s a steep cost for a state with an annual budget of about $25 billion, compared with California’s budget of $156 billion.

    A study for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development concluded the state lost more than $12,000 for every job created by the film tax credit. The Louisiana Budget Project, which monitors public policy, said taxpayers paid an average of more than $60,000 per direct film job.

    “Unfortunately, the returns to the state on this investment, like many of the movies made here, have been a flop,” the group said.

    Yet support for its incentive program remains strong.”

    If you really READ the article you note that some states lose jobs others gain jobs but the net affect is a loss of jobs its seems (same with money being spent)
    “That said, there is no doubt that the expansion of incentives has led to a significant transfer of production jobs away from California.

    California lost 18,580 jobs in the film and TV sector from 2004 to 2013, a 12% decline, according to federal jobs data compiled by the Milken Institute.

    During the same period, arch rival New York added nearly 10,000 jobs, an increase of 23%. New York has seen a surge in production since it increased its film credit in 2008. The state allocates $420 million annually to film productions.

    Louisiana, another top film destination, added 2,760 jobs, up 73%. Other film hubs such as New Mexico, North Carolina and Georgia also have seen some job growth, although the gains have been more modest relative to the size of the subsidies.”

    So CA lost 18K jobs – NY gained 10K and LS gained 2K meaning a loss of jobs in total.
    This is wasteful spending by states and the “per job costs” are a lousy way to document how BAD these incentives are BUT if you look consistently at incentives you can see here locally that the increase in film incentives in NC created 55 new jobs at a cost of $480,000 per job. Verizon got $440/job PPD (harder to figure) about about $700 – $800 per job. The Ball park would have resulted in I think about $470,000 per job.
    I have no idea what the Global Transpark has cost overall but it remains one of NC’s biggest boondoggles….


  • Machiavel says:

    Look who came out of their trailer..uh..I mean house. Go back to watching Fox and complaining about immigrants taking our jobs. You clearly know nothing about this other than what the Tea-billies tell you.

  • Mechanic says:

    The film industry is dead. No more blocked off streets. With all the uncertainty surrounding incentives, even if it does work out for this year, what happens next year and the next? The film guys are going where they can certainly get government welfare, and that is not Wilmington, anymore.

  • SouthEastNC says:

    “With all the uncertainty surrounding incentives, even if it does work out for this year, what happens next year and the next?”

    Shows are renewed season by season. Movies don’t take more than a few months to film. Your question is pointless. Each year we can make it worth their while is a reason they will do business here.

  • Vog46 says:

    Decker from the Dept of Commerce is calling for a special session as well:

    Interesting….wonder if she has the “political cajones” to pull this off?

    Nothing would surprise me with this Legislature…..


  • SurfCityTom says:

    It’s not happening. They should be focusing on getting their message out in time for the 2015 legislative term.

    In case they missed it, just about every incumbent, running for re-election, is doing just that, campaigning to remain in office.

    Tillis is running, full speed, to become the next Senator from NC and send Hagen back to the triad.

    But let’s play the devil’s advocate.

    If this is such an urgent need, are they willing to put up the money required to cover all of the expenses incurred for a 1 day special session?

    What — no takers. Not willing to put up the cash for a special 1 day session.

    No, just continue with the doom and gloom. They’re like Chicken Little.

  • smurfCityThom says:


    Next: “Under the Dome” and “Sleep Hollow”!!


  • Rusty says:


    Which is what other people might say about your postings against film if you stopped doing so? Like other charged issues there’s not much of a middle ground and no one listens to people from the other side. :\

  • taxpayer says:

    are “slaves” to the film industry. It was their donations that helped them get elected.

  • Erlkoenig says:

    It’s time for corporate welfare for the fracking biz. Who all libs are with me?

  • beach here says:

    they need to get out of nc. pack up get out we republicans dont want u in nc or wilmington

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