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. 

https://www.nccommerce.com/film

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:

ncleg.net

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.

www.ncleg.net

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

Billy Hathorn

It didn’t take long for local film workers to see a drop in production after North Carolina legislators re-structured the incentive – changing it from a tax rebate to a fixed grant fund. 

Isabelle Shepherd

The legislature is out of Raleigh, but, the jury may not be out on economic incentives, including those supporting North Carolina’s film industry. 

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County leaders plan to write to Governor Pat McCrory, asking him to reconvene the legislative session to make a final decision on economic incentives.  Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says this is a bigger issue than just film; he wants to protect job development grants, which incentivize companies to bring their business to North Carolina:  

Andrew Sleet

Some state legislators say they don’t see the positive economic impact of film in North Carolina.  Wilmington’s film community is coming together to show them the big picture.

NC House Moves to Maintain Current Film Tax Rebate

Jul 31, 2014
AiClassEland at en.wikibooks [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

A film incentive grant program is included in the current budget compromise. But an amendment proposed by Republican Representative Ted Davis from New Hanover County would maintain the existing structure of the film tax rebate for one year. The proposal passed the House during Thursday's session by a wide margin.

Ted Davis’ amendment to Senate Bill 763 would extend the current tax rebates for one year, which would allow time for an independent study to be completed.

Catlin Challenger Jordan Identifies Film as Signature Issue

Jul 18, 2014
Betsy Jordan / Rick Catlin

Betsy Jordan, who is Rick Catlin’s Democratic opponent for the North Carolina House of Representatives, has already identified her signature issue: film. WHQR’s Isabelle Shepherd reports.

District 20’s Republican incumbent, Rick Catlin, has voted to convert the film tax rebate to a grant program. But his challenger, Betsy Jordan, says this isn’t enough to keep North Carolina competitive in the film industry.

Friday Feedback for July 4, 2014

Jul 4, 2014

Listener Dory wrote:

I prefer public radio formats in which there are two stations--one news/talk programming and one music programming. Since the second WHQR station is HD (and not available to all), it makes sense to mix news and music programming on the flagship station. However, I'd love it if the music was more diverse--indie music, singer-songwriters, Alt-Latino, "college music." As it stands, the music programming seems almost entirely focused on older demographics.

Anonymous wrote:

As state legislators continue to hammer out the budget, citizens of all political persuasions are awaiting word on the fate of this region’s bustling film business. And that’s why this morning, a contingent of officials and residents from the Wilmington area gathered in Raleigh’s legislative building to plead with lawmakers to extend the current film incentive tax credits—instead of switching to a grant program, which they say would eliminate jobs. But rather than demonstrating film’s bona fides within the Cape Fear region, local lawmakers focused on its statewide benefits.

Wilmington Regional Film Commission

The film community in North Carolina is holding its collective breath while House leaders consider budget amendments.  

Billy Hathorn

Film incentives are the ticket to keeping more than four-thousand full-time jobs in the state.  That was a central theme Wednesday morning in Raleigh during a press conference where state and city leaders, film industry workers, and industry supporters gathered to celebrate Film Day at the General Assembly. 

The question of whether competitive film incentives continue in North Carolina will be answered by the end of the current short session of the General Assembly. 

Billy Hathorn

North Carolina lawmakers are haggling over how – and whether -- to preserve a now-controversial tax credit for the film industry. 

VisitNC.com

If North Carolina lawmakers don’t renew film incentives during the short session – or if they choose to gut them to the point they’re no longer competitive with other states, some industry insiders are predicting an exodus of long-time film professionals from Wilmington. 

City of Wilmington

Mayor Bill Saffo is running unopposed this season for what will be his fifth term serving the City of Wilmington. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture / via Flickr Creative Commons

As New Hanover County and City of Wilmington officials hand out financial incentives to companies they hope to keep in the Cape Fear region, the state is also considering the effectiveness of incentives. 

Audio Pending...

Business incentives can come in several forms – tax breaks, direct grants, the building of infrastructure – such as roadways or utilities.  

As lawmakers in Raleigh consider how to approach the mammoth task of tax modernization, business incentives are poised to be at the center of heated debates.  

North Carolina’s tax code is nearly a century old and state lawmakers are looking hard at options to bring the system up-to-date without triggering unintended and potentially negative consequences.