Some of the information necessary to satisfy your inquiries on film incentives may be found at http://www.ncfilm.com/new-25-tax-credit.html I'm more than a little surprised that the "Film Czars" to which you refer didn't promptly, or even eagerly advise you to consult this site.
You will find a tab in this section entitled "Incentive Reports" which includes production companies, expenditures, number of persons employed in NC and the amounts of incentives actually paid to the producers.
Information on "The Rock - Michael Caine" film "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1397514/ The current status of this project is reported as being in post production with a February 2012 anticipated release date.
It should be noted that incentives are not paid out until the production company undergoes an audit after the conclusion of production by the NC Department of Revenue. Incentive payments under this state's program are not paid in advance.
As to the second aspect of your critique, I invite your attention to this paper published by the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business which explains the multiplier effect of benefits inherent in any business expenditure but in particular the film industry in South Carolina. http://www.moore.sc.edu/UserFiles/moore/Documents/Division%20of%20Resear... Similar analysis was likely considered by the NC Legislature to support its decision to expand our incentive program.
Just like you, Tom, I am disappointed that neither the NC Film Office nor the Wilmington Regional Film Commission have provided underlying economic analysis to support their positions. I differ from you to the extent that I do accept that these tax incentives do benefit the State of NC and more specifically our region.
I have no reason to blame fmr President Bush for anything! It was Bush era legislation, "The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004" which took effect October 22, 2004, included a “new” Internal Revenue Code section 181. The expressed purpose of the Congress was to provide an incentive to certain film makers and television producers to not move their production activities outside of the United States by providing new income tax incentives for investors in film and television projects.
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