The House has passed a budget amendment that includes a provision for the film industry.
It was the joint effort of Republicans Ted Davis, from New Hanover County, and Ruth Samuelson, from Mecklenburg County.
This was Davis’ second attempt to include a program for the film industry in the House version of the budget. And this amendment, says Davis, is aimed at keeping the conversation about film incentives going.
"In the spirit of further consensus, I would like to offer this amendment not only to keep the film industry viable in North Carolina but also to allow the film incentive issue to proceed for further discussion between the House and the Senate."
Ruth Samuelson explained the proposal which bears a striking similarity to the Senate bill. The tax break would convert to a grant that would be disbursed by the Department of Commerce – based on certain criteria.
"This will allow the Secretary of Commerce to negotiate and prioritize film projects based on jobs created in North Carolina, infrastructure improvements and capital investment, and economic impact."
During the debate on the amendment, Frank Iler, Representative from Brunswick County, said he prefers the current incentive but will take what he can get.
"In my opinion, I don’t like this approach. My opinion was to extend the deadline we have for six more years, give them certainty, and quit confusing the issue. But I will go along with whatever we can get. We’ll take a half a loaf – whatever. Because you’re talking about 4200 jobs… It’s like Star Wars and Georgia is the Evil Empire. And they’re coming up here to capture 4000-plus of our jobs."
The amendment passed 90 to 26. Once finalized, the House budget goes to a conference committee to work out the differences with the Senate’s budget proposal.