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:
"The legislature, while I’m not sitting there, I know it is a give-and-take situation. So when they ask for the sales tax redistribution to go after our tourist money, we’re going to have a hard time saying no after they just coughed up millions of dollars throughout their counties to support us."
While Benton wouldn’t advocate for a return to the former state incentive system, he says he would support a county incentive, or an incentive at the state level that would guarantee some share of box office sales.
If Susi Hamilton is reelected for a fourth term, she says she’ll push for the reinstatement of the tax rebate for film. And she believes the attitude within the General Assembly is changing:
"We have to begin a rational conversation among the legislators about how to restore the industry to the state. They’ve seen the impact, they’ve felt the loss, and we can show them the numbers of all 77 counties out of 100 that have in fact benefited from it. This myth that it’s simply a New Hanover thing is really just a myth."
Early voting has begun and will end on Saturday, November 5th at 1 o’clock. Election Day is November 8th.