The Legislative Democratic Leadership Team had a press conference today and talked about various incentives needed back in their economic growth tool box – to include the film incentive. It was hoped that this call for a return of the NC Film Incentive Program would be a call to action included in Governor McCrory’s State of the State address. It did not happen. The Governor did talk about the Historic Building Preservation Tax Incentive that should return, but not the film incentive.
It has been ERMP’s conservative estimate that barring a complete change of North Carolina’s Senate Legislative Team Leadership there will not be an incentive again – in a decade or more. The Senators are philosophically and fundamentally opposed to tax incentives – period. Not just the Film Incentive – any incentive. These key Senators are the leaders that direct bills through their legislative body. Without these influential Senator’s support, there will be no vote to bring back an incentive.
At the end of July, 2014 while waiting outside for a meeting to start, the Chief of Staff of the Senate’s President walked by, came over and stated that we (ERMP – through Tony Adams) were the reason we have any type of incentive now – the Grant Program – and that we were amazingly lucky to get that. Many, many budgetary line items were axed that year.
Tony Adams has said that without a change in the voting districts – and that only happens every 10 years, we will not see a substantial member change in the Legislature. We will have conservative Republicans in charge of the state’s budget for many years to come.
So, what ERMP has stated starting from the March of 2014 when it became apparent that the NC Film tax incentive would not remain, is the industry must adopt a new strategy for promoting movie production in NC and if we harken to the industry shifts, this can be a well-timed change.
The State of North Carolina’s Legislature should lower the grant threshold from five million dollars (which helps no one in this state producing video content) to one hundred thousand dollars and focus entirely on the one hundred thousand to five hundred thousand dollar projects. These projects produce quality video product at a price tag that will see 2 – 4 times the return on investment in two – four years – in just the Video on Demand market. If the Legislature focuses on helping the indigenous North Carolina video production industry grow, we will be the vanguard in the country on the leading edge of this industry’s seismic change. Technology is changing how we make movies. Let’s use the tools we have to grow our industry substantially.