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CoastLine: Will NC's Next Film Incentive Package Keep the Cameras Rolling?


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. 

The current film incentive package expires at the end of this year.  In 2010, film companies spent $75 million in the state; in 2011 that number jumped to north of $220 million.  The spike coincided with the legislature’s sweetening of the film incentive potupping the tax rebate to 25% of qualifying expenses.   

The Senate has passed a bill that changes the incentive from a tax rebate to a grant fund.  The House recently passed a similar budget amendment, and Governor Pat McCrory has floated his own proposal that has yet to see much enthusiasm from any corner.  

While the negotiation unfolds in Raleigh, hundreds of people in the Cape Fear region who work in the industry are waiting to see what the legislature eventually decides. 

The business has fundamentally changed over the last few years, and most industry insiders say that producers simply won’t consider locations that don’t offer competitive incentives.  If the work drops off in North Carolina, will that mean an exodus of film industry workers?   

On today’s CoastLine, we’ll explore the proposals on the table. What could they mean for North Carolina in general, and how could this region change?

Our guests for the show: 

  • Dr. Woody Hall, Senior Economist at the Swain Center for Business and Economic Services in the Cameron School of Business at UNCW
  • Kevin Wuzzardo, Assistant News Director at WWAY Newschannel 3

Listen to Segment 1 here.
Listen to Segment 2 here.
Listen to Segment 3 here.

At the end of the last segment, there were still calls to take, emails to read and ground to coverparticularly regarding the Handfield study and the Fiscal Research Division's critique of that study.  But we will follow up on the topic after the State Legislature delivers the final verdict and the industry has a chance to digest the implications. 

Thanks to all of our listeners who tuned in, Tweeted, emailed, and called us for the inaugural edition of CoastLine!