• N.C. rep wants to keep incentives set to expire for film industry

    By: Alexa Ashwell


    CHARLOTTE - A report released by the state Department of Revenue shows the effect of incentives that are set to expire for the film industry in North Carolina.

    State lawmakers implemented the incentives three years ago in an effort to bring TV shows and movies to the state.

    According to the report, an average of $236 million was spent annually on projects in the state from 2011- 2013. In the three years prior to the increased incentives, approximately $57 million had been spent per year on filming in North Carolina.

    The report also indicated an average of 14,000 people were employed each year from 2011-2013.  Three years prior to the increased incentives, approximately 8,000 people were employed within the film industry in North Carolina

    The film subsidy will disappear at the end of this year unless lawmakers extend it.

    North Carolina state Rep. Charles Jeter told Channel 9 he wanted to keep the incentives for scripted programs that offer more long-term employment.

    "I think television shows such as ‘Homeland’ and ‘Banshee’ that were filmed here in Charlotte are important because not only do they create direct jobs in the industry but they also create an indirect benefit to the economy," said Rep. Jeter during a phone interview with Channel 9.

    "I don't think we should offer the incentive to reality shows such as ‘The Bachelorette’ and ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition’. These shows didn't come to North Carolina because of an incentive rather because of a story line. They took advantage of this incentive."

    Rep. Jeter told Channel 9 the biggest challenge will be to get the people who believe in the tax to vote to reinstitute it.

    "It is going to be a heavy risk in the General Assembly," explained Jeter. "It will be hard to convince lawmakers who represent counties such as Rockingham, Halifax and Avery that don't see the benefit in jobs. They will question why the state is giving money that could otherwise be used or put towards other purposes."

    The owner of a film studio in Gaston County told Channel 9 he would greatly benefit from an extension of the incentives.

    "My studio is called The Indee," explained Nathan Kirby.  "We produce small, independent films and I hope to one day expand our business by building several major motion picture studios.  That won't be possible if state lawmakers don't keep the incentives."

    The legislative session is set to begin on May 14.

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