NC Film Incentives: Asset or Liability?
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We hear a lot about the need for tax incentives to lure film projects to the state, but some critics say the incentives just don't make fiscal sense.

Contrary to popular belief, the film industry actually costs the state money. According to estimates from the state legislature, the current 25% film tax credit costs North Carolinian's 20 million dollars a year….and that figure is projected to rise 75 million dollars a year by 2013, if more projects come here to film. That's because our tax incentives are structured as refundable credits, and in many cases, the state actually writes film production companies a check for coming here.

Say a California based production company comes to North Carolina and spends 10 million dollars on a film. Since they don't actually owe taxes to North Carolina, the state would have to cut the company a check for $2.5 million, to cover the 25% incentive.

Proponents of film incentives say it's worth it, since films create jobs, and crews spend money in the cities where they're working. But critics say those jobs are temporary, and can be drawn away when a neighboring state introduces more generous incentives.

While the film industry certainly has a certain "cool" factor, it may be hard to justify spending 20 million dollars a year on incentives, especially in a time when the state may have to lay off teachers because of budget constraints.

Because state budgets are stretched so thin, some states are re-thinking their film incentive programs, but here North Carolina, legislators have actually introduced a bill to lift the caps on the current film incentives, making them more attractive to film makers, but more expensive for taxpayers.

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So what do you do for a living? I'm curious. You know besides the actors and crew, there are hair, makeup, and costume people who work on these films. I guess you must have more money than you need. Then why don't you give your money to all the people who have to leave their families in North Carolina to go work in other states! No, you won't...I didn't think so!

First--the movie makers don't come to North Carolina unless there is an adequate film incentive in place because all the other states have incentives too (it's a part of the business now). Secondly--they have to spend about $1 million before they are eligible to get the 25% back & that's not on everything, only certain items. Third--they have to apply for this incentive like a tax return (so they're spending money to get it back and wait after they've already shot the film here). And lastly--they have to give North Carolina recognition in the credits, which always hasn't been done in the 1000-1200 movies & documentaries made over the last century. For more information the NC Film office has a cool website.

I have always felt that the film industry like any other should pay its fair taxes instead of getting breaks. They are no different from any other business.

every other state and industry is getting tax credits People the film industry is not the only industry looking for incentives. Look at the triangle, IBM how big how successful and what are they being given? The more business here the better. I cannot believe the hateful selfish people here that turn their cold heart on people just wanting to work.
Remember when your job gets outsourced and you need to go to China that you your self said you should go where the work is. We are supposed to be supporting our brothers. Greed is how we got here Corporate greed not Hollywood greed.

But what is the true cost/benefit ratio? Didn't UNCW do a study on this?

a bit further.

On that $10,000,000 film budget, the state would write a check for $2.5 million.

A relevant question is how much revenue comes into the state and community from local salaries, hotels, meals, and all of the other expenditures?

And remember the trickle down effect. Money spent on hotels and meals, for instance, gets recycled in the community through salaries paid to employees.

Put the file commission's rep on the spot and have him justify the incentives by giving some specific numbers.

This is a pet project of Gov Perdue. It actually costs the state money, and very little benefit is received in terms of jobs in NC. Too bad the state cannot lure some real industries with real, long term, jobs. Then maybe our unemployment rate would decrease.

Sure a lot of those jobs are temporary when film productions need to boost numbers, but to think that the people involved don't settle down with families when the opportunity presents itself is foolish. One only needs to look at Wilmington and how the TV industry took root. If you lose the film incentives TV will eventually follow and those jobs are more or less permenant as long as there is a show to film.

It has become increasingly predominant for film and tv series that could be shot here to move to Lousiana where the scenery and landscape is the same, but the incentives are better.

"The Cool Factor" is something NC is often missing. As a state that relies heavily on tourism these days you have to have it. Without some type of "Cool Factor" you might as well totally dismiss tourism in general. Its also plain good advertising. When the right film comes along like say Sideways for the California wine valleys....it can be invaluable.

Architects, engineers, building contractors all have "temporary jobs" also. When one project is over, they hopefully have another on the way. That was the way it used to be during the late '80s through mid-'90's in regard to film production in Wilmington. With 3-4 projects in progress simultaneously, there was plenty of work for all that wanted it. Canada, and then the rest of the country, caught up and then passed "Hollywood East" (we were 3rd after California and New York).
Maybe North Carolina doesn't really deserve this vital, creative, clean industry after all. They didn't save the furniture or textile jobs, so I don't expect our politicians to care about losing another industry since all the work is just "temporary" after all. This unemployed film worker definitely has GEORGIA on my mind!

I agree and the business the locals get mom and pop operations ( whats left) I sat and read the previous threads and am sick of these stupid people in this state. You said it, North Carolina did nothing to save the great industries they had and people are really hurting and you see how compassionate their neighbors and fellow statesmen are! No wonder the industries left. The intelligence level here in this state is less then Chinese, Mexican and the other underdeveloped countries they moved to, they just got to pay them less.