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Outgoing Secretary of Commerce: Film Workers Should Stay Engaged in the Political Process

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.  The outgoing State Secretary of Commerce says film industry workers need to stay engaged in the political process. 

The reason the film incentive changed:  a broader push in Raleigh for tax reform.  The goal, says Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker, was to reduce tax rates statewide -- instead of having higher tax rates and then offering tax credits to specific industries. 

But Decker admits that one small pot holding ten million dollars for film won’t stretch further than a couple of projects.

"That’s right.  My hope is that during this legislative session, that fund will be appropriated in a larger amount.  I do think that one of the reasons we didn’t get a larger sum was that the legislators wanted us to get the guidelines in place.  They wanted to understand what the impacts would be.  And my hope would be that we would encourage the increasing of that fund as we move forward."

Decker, who is heading to the private sector after December 31st, says the Job Development Investment Grant fund could be used for the building of capital infrastructure – such as film studios – in the state.  And, she says, she expects incoming Secretary of Commerce John Skvarla to be a supporter of the industry when he takes the helm on January 1st


This was part of the most recent edition of CoastLine– which airs at noon every Wednesday here on HQR News.  To hear the discussion in its entirety, which included Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin, tune in on Saturday at 1 PM or follow this link:


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.