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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Major film and television series producers are warning the state could lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars it does not extend tax incentives set to expire next year.

In a letter to state leaders last month, the Motion Picture Association of America’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs said the General Assembly’s failure to extend the incentives for film projects is already having a negative effect on North Carolina.

The MPAA says tax incentive programs are important, because they allow long-term planning for productions and could tip the balance between profit or loss and success or failure.

Click here to read the letter from the MPAA to state leaders

The state spent $60.5 million on the program last year and is still processing claims.

Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin says having the film incentive is a big draw for films who without it might go to other states.

“Obviously we have other things here that are good for the productions, as far as the sound stages, crews, locations and weather. There are a lot of different things that make this a great place to work, but that is just one of the pieces to the puzzle right now, and without that it certainly puts work in jeopardy,” Griffin said.

Critics of the film incentives say the money could be better spent in other places to provide across-the-board tax relief, which would also generate jobs.

In the last year incentives have helped bring several productions to our area, including the box office hits “Iron Man 3,” “Safe Haven,” “The Conjuring” and “We’re the Millers,” as well as TV shows “revolution,” “Under the Dome” and “Eastbound & Down”


Comment on this Story

  • Heather

    Well said Sir!!
    Love you!
    Your film family member,
    Heat :)

  • JW Burriss

    Why is it that no one is saying how much money is being pumped to N.C.?
    Last year the film industry spent a reported $278 Million in goods, services and wages. Think about for a moment. $278 million to hotels, gas stations, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, rental car agencies, permits, people, the list goes on and on. The state had to pay back $69 million, which left $211 million in North Carolina in one form or another. They also created over 14,000 jobs, paying jobs, jobs that NC citizens paid taxes from their wages. It doesn’t matter how you spin it, the film industry brings in a hell of a lot more than NC pays out, and if these incentives go away, the state will lose $278 million instead of $69 million, 14,000 jobs instead of 14,000 gainfully employed, and will increase its own unemployment figures. Talk about a state expense. Insurance sir, is a scam. Gainfully employed are not.

  • Heather

    While reading these comments I am blown away. As a friend said ” We’re 20 years behind the rest of the country. ON PURPOSE. Which makes no sense”, and I agree. Yeah, taxes suck…but you gotta give a little for a return.

    Sarcastically speaking, Its a shame for the business, landowners(farmers) and homeowners that receive 1000’s for the use of their space for a day. For those who disagree, please do not visit sets and take pics,and honk at productions you see on the street so we have to start over and “waste” more money. Don’t go to the theater to be able to spot a familiar location in our state,and pay your hard earned money to see it. Just boycott us if you’re so offended!!!!

    Bet not one of you has worked 15+ hours of physical labor (and love every minute of it)in the sweltering heat and blistering cold for you to be able to sit your fatt but down in a climate controlled environment with comfy recliner seats to laugh, cry, and devour that tub of buttery popcorn.

    The 6 year college degree, 1000’of man power at work, film families that I have made and love so much, Its been a ride! U-Haul? Two Men And a Truck? Pack-Rat?

    Better yet, let me stay in the state I love, North Carolina and collect welfare, get food stamp,and go to the ER for every little sniffle and waste doctors and critically ill patients time.

    The Set Designer

  • Film Grip

    Correct me if i am wrong, but my unemployment insurance is money paid into the DOL from my employer. It is money earned from the sweat of my brow, not taxes, not money set aside by the state, and definitely not a hand out. If i dont work in NC, the money isnt generated for unemployment. You stand to gain by continuing to have a tax incentive. But by all means, kill the incentive and drive all the work to me in GA. We generated 2 billion last year and wouldnt mind making even more. Dont be dumb. Keep films there.
    That is all.

  • Karnsy

    There is so much I would like to say about this issue after reading all these comments. It’s emotional for us in the industry and these comments against the film incentives scare me. They scare all of us…it’s our life.
    For the people against the incentives, you’re right, they should not exist, they should not exist anywhere and allow each state to compete equally. I agree with you. But the problem is that the incentives do exist elsewhere. They do, and there is nothing we can do about that. The only thing we can do is compete without kidding ourself that if we get rid of them the films will leave. They absolutely will and they will leave us all behind, some of us skilled and some of us weathered but in the end, scared and lost. I look at this issue different. I look at it like this….Here in N.C. we have a group of people (film employees) who have an issue (holding employment), an issue that many others have as well, and right now we have something that has fixed that issue. Please understand that this is something that is working, maybe not for you, I understand that, but certainly for one of your neighbors. If we rid the incentives for the sake of helping others and we succeed, all we will do is shift the problem from one group to another. Please…We are begging you, don’t treat this as an ‘either-or’ situation. We in the film industry had a problem, and right now it is fixed. Lets please find a way to build on without using the blocks that hold us up. There’s got to be a better way.

  • Vog46

    “If the incentives are such that they get 25% of the tax revenue they generate, the state gets the other 75%. That is 75% more than we would get if the movie people take their business elsewhere.”

    Here, let me make it simple for you, as you make a grievous error in judgement. They do NOT get 25% of taxes generated. They get a credit of 25% of money spent.
    If a movie filming spends $20M they pay into NC at a rate of about 7%(the normal sales tax and payroll tax)
    7% of 20M = $1,400,000 of state taxes.
    They get a CREDIT of 25% of MONEY spent
    25% of $20M is? $5M
    The state loses $5M – $1.4M or about $3.6M on that film.

    Now the MPAA will say that multipliers make up for the difference. It is virtually impossible to make up that difference without having additional spending of at least $49M.
    The multipliers are way WAY off.
    This is a scam of epic proportions and benefits out of state corporations – NOT North Carolina corporations!
    And don’t get me started on indirect COSTS associated with filming – which the MPAA plays down.
    Think about this—–what do filming crews do for income when a movie is completed? They collect unemployment! Which is? A state expense.

    This is a bad incentive program.


  • Guest2020

    If the incentives are such that they get 25% of the tax revenue they generate, the state gets the other 75%. That is 75% more than we would get if the movie people take their business elsewhere.

    When the movies are filmed here and they bring in people from out of town to work, then those people, like the tourists, spend their money here. If the movies quit getting filmed here, then the local businesses do not get that revenue.

    It is not only people from out of town who work for the studios. There are people who live here who work for the studios. If the films are no longer made here then those people will move. When they go, the businesses lose customers. When they go, they no longer pay taxes here.

    Of course the studios are in the business of making money. That one really is s no-brainer. The studios, like every other business, will go where it is less expensive to operate. That is just plain common sense.

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