film incentives

Republican Gerald Benton is challenging Democratic incumbent Susi Hamilton for North Carolina House District 18.  As the future of film in the state hangs in limbo, the two candidates differ in how they’d approach incentives.

Gerald Benton says film only benefits two counties in North Carolina: Mecklenburg and New Hanover.  If he were to push for the return of a tax incentive, he says he’d be indebted to the other 98 counties in the state:

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet North Carolina Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat from New Hanover County, who has held the seat for three terms and is seeking a fourth. 

But first, we hear from her Republican challenger this November – Gerald Benton.

Governor Pat McCrory and his Democratic challenger, Attorney General Roy Cooper visited Wilmington for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Power Breakfast series. Both took questions from the crowd regarding film incentives.

Roy Cooper criticized Governor Pat McCrory for letting tax credits for film productions expire. He says data shows the film incentives were working and that there were benefits beyond those that could be calculated:

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet North Carolina Representative Ted Davis, Junior, a Republican from New Hanover County, who has held the seat in House District 19 for two and a half terms.  In 2012, he was appointed to finish out the term of Danny McComas, who stepped away to take the helm of the North Carolina Ports Authority Board of Directors.  Ted Davis went on to win the seat in the next election.  He won a second term in 2014, and will soon embark upon his third as he is unopposed this November.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet the two people in the race for North Carolina Senate District 9.  This district covers most of New Hanover County, with the exception of a small patch in downtown Wilmington, which is part of Brunswick County Senator Bill Rabon’s District 8. 

An alternate funding option for smaller filmmakers will soon be a reality in North Carolina.  Cucalorus, in partnership with the North Carolina Film Office, is announcing a new film incentive for projects with budgets under a quarter of a million dollars.

Once the popular tax-rebate form of the film incentive expired in North Carolina and legislators replaced it with a grant fund, film production in the state dropped significantly.  With those big-budget films and longer-running television series also went the support structure for smaller projects.  

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on December 10, 2014.

The debate over film incentives in North Carolina erupted on the public stage last year when two state RepresentativesRick Catlin from New Hanover County and Chris Millis of Pender Countysponsored a bill that would fundamentally change the structure of the tax rebate.  

This broadcast of CoastLine originally aired on June 24, 2014. 

Providing tax breaks to the film industry... statewide, it's a controversial topic. In Southeastern North Carolina, there's no question incentives have injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy through the boom in film production here. But plenty of state leaders from less film-centric areas aren't convinced the financial benefits of the industry extend statewide. 

Billy Hathorn

At the beginning of this year, North Carolina’s film incentive switched from a competitive tax rebate to a very small grant fund – holding just $10 million.

As North Carolina legislators gear up for a new session, Governor Pat McCrory says economic incentives are his Number One priority.