Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget to bring back film incentives

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – Gov. Roy Cooper wants to revive a tax incentive for film and tv productions.

The Film and Entertainment Tax Incentive was part of the budget proposal the governor revealed today in Durham.

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The proposed incentive would provide up to $9 million for each television series, $12 million for each feature film and $250,000 for commercials.

Under the proposal, projects would need to spend $1 million per episode for a tv series, $5 million for feature films and $250,000 for commercials. Those minimums are the same that are currently in place under the current NC Film and Entertainment Grant Program. But there is one big difference. The current grant program has a $30 million cap, but the proposed tax incentive would not have an annual cap, much like the version of the film incentive the state had in place up until January of 2015.

Film incentives have long been a contentious topic in Raleigh.



In 2014, then-Governor Pat McCrory overhauled the film incentive program and created a grant program instead. The film incentive program offered qualifying productions a 25% refundable credit, instead of a flat $10 million grant.

Not long after the grant program went into effect in 2015, the Wilmington Regional Film Commissioner and city leaders held a news conference saying the grant program was not enough to support the industry.

Eventually, lawmakers agreed to increase the grant program from $10 million to $30 million annually over two years.

During this time, Wilmington saw productions such as ‘Under the Dome’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ leave the area for other states, but TNT series ‘Good Behavior’ set up shop and received money from the grant program and just last month announced it would return to Wilmington, where it will receive a grant amount of up to $9 million dollars.

The new film incentive proposal would go into effect in January.

According to Governor Cooper’s office, it would cost the state $20 million next year and $40 million a  year thereafter.  $15 million was put into the budget for fiscal year 2017-18 to fund the current film grant program to smooth the transition until January 2018.