Fade to black on our state’s film industry?

| September 29, 2014

12081853371627177650shuttermonkey_Movie_Clapperboard.svg.medEditorial by The Time-News, September 26, 2014.

Will Pat McCrory be remembered as the governor who killed the film industry in North Carolina? It could be, if the film community’s most dire predictions come to pass.

 McCrory has announced that he won’t call the General Assembly back in session to discuss film incentives, historic preservation credits that encourage economic revitalization or his own pet project, a “closing fund” that would give Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker sole authority to write checks to large employers seeking to locate in North Carolina.

This means that a film incentives program that revived an industry that has long been part of North Carolina will expire at the end of the year — and with them, many fear along the North Carolina coast, may go hundreds if not several thousand full-time jobs that pay not only a living wage, but a solid middle-class wage.

The less-than-adequate grant program that will take the place of tax credits has a cap of $10 million total spending — less than one-sixth of the incentives paid out in 2013 to a variety of projects, including the popular television series “Sleepy Hollow” and the big-screen hit “Tammy.” McCrory recently approved $12 million to add cleaner-powered boilers and save 1,000 jobs at a paper plant in western North Carolina.

Last month it wasn’t McCrory but Senate candidate Thom Tillis who was the target of the film community’s disappointment. A number of protesters showed up as the current N.C. House speaker campaigned with an assist from Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Tillis once supported film incentives. But he has been quiet on the issue since announcing his candidacy. He was in a position to push, if he desired to do so.

The incentives were expanded in 2010 with Tillis’ help, and as a result cameras were rolling all over the state. The industry supports the livelihoods of 4,200 workers employed full time as crew members, as well as local businesses around the state that exist solely because of the industry’s presence. Other businesses also benefit, because productions buy food, supplies and other necessities locally — as do the visiting cast and crew from out of town.

And the largesse isn’t just in Wilmington parts of eastern North Carolina. Films are shot around the state, including here in Alamance County. The North Carolina premiere of a film shot in Alamance and Caswell counties was held earlier this month when “Dark Awakening” was screened at the Graham Cinema. The film was produced by longtime movies special effects experts Dean and Starr Jones of Snow Camp.

When those film credits expire at the end of the year, those who know the industry say the grant program will not be enough to keep the state competitive. Film is likely to be a much smaller presence in the state.

While the impact could be felt statewide, there’s little doubt the loss would be most noticeable in southeastern North Carolina — especially in and around Wilmington, the hub of the state’s film activity. That region already has more difficulty than other areas attracting major employers that pay middle-class wages.

And every part of this state knows we cannot afford to give up on jobs that are already here.



Category: Economy

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Norm Kelly says:

    Every time ANY line item in the state budget is reduced, someone, somewhere, will complain about it. It’s a guarantee that libs will complain no matter what happens. Even when some line item in the budget is increased, libs continue to call it a cut. And when libs actually do cut a line item, like the Medicare cut under Obamascare, they insist that they didn’t do it, it was the Republicans fault, George Bush did it, or they just lie about the cut. And their allies in what used to be the main stream media simply go along with the lib whine and/or lie.
    How about we start comparing our state handling of situations like incentives with how other states do it. How about we compare our state income and revenue streams with how other states do it. I don’t mean compare to states like California or Illinois. They are so screwed in the head that NOTHING in those states makes sense. For instance, in order to increase revenue to the state, and apparently to spur economic growth, the libs in Illinois actually RAISED taxes, significantly! Which usually has the opposite effect, of course. But they are libs, so we can’t expect them to understand logic.
    How does Texas do it? How is the economic environment in Texas? How much ‘incentives’ (bribe!) money does Texas spend? How do the taxes compare in Texas to NC? Then there’s Florida. How does Florida handle corporate bribes? How often does NC compete with Florida on bribing companies to move or expand? How does the economic environment of Florida compare to ours? How do taxes and tax rates compare to ours?
    It’s time that media types and lib pols, often the same group of people, stop looking at other states that are making the same mistakes the libs in our state have made for years. It’s time our elected officials start looking at how SUCCESSFUL states are doing it. We can learn from those who have gone ahead of us.
    The problem with libs is that they refuse to learn from those who have gone ahead of us. For instance, Germany has completely backed off of it’s support for ‘green’ energy. They lost big time and have decided it’s too expensive to continue the corporate welfare. How has our country responded? The occupier is hell-bent on throwing away tax dollars on ‘greening’ the US. It’s provably a failure, but he has his head buried in the sand, and K seems willing to follow him into this rabbit hole.
    Then there’s things like socialized medicine. Not only is Europe well ahead of us with socialized medicine failures, but so is the VA Health program. Both European socialized medicine and VA Health socialized medicine schemes have proven to be monumentally expensive failures. Yet for some reason, Billary, K, and the occupier are hell-bent on making sure we follow the same disastrous path. They are intent on taking one of the BEST health care systems in the WORLD and DESTROYING it under the guise of fairness. It will be considerably MORE expensive. It will NOT cover the people they told us it would. And it WILL, MUST, include rationing, just like happens in Europe and Canada. All of which they lied to us about. And K, Billary, Harry, and the occupier ALL knew they were telling LIES when they told those LIES!
    So, why is it that K has ANYONE willing to vote for her? Every one of K’s ideas are 180 degrees wrong! She claims in her campaign ads that she supports veterans. How, exactly? She continues to support enforcement of the VA health system. And she supports spending even more money on it, rather than making the program better for our vets. So how does this support and HELP our vets? Which media type has asked K about this?