We have met with nearly all the 170 members of the House and Senate. Among the legislators we have had meetings with are most of the key leaders in both the House and Senate, including the Speaker of the House, the House Speaker Pro-Tem, the House Majority Leader and Majority Whip, two Deputy Majority Whips, the Chairs of the Appropriations Committee and all the Vice-Chairs, the Chair of the Commerce Committee and three Vice-Chairs, the Chair and the Vice Chairs of the Finance Committee, and many other influential members of the House. In the Senate we have met with Majority Leader and the Majority Whip, the Joint Majority Caucus Leader, the Chairman and Co-Chairs of the Finance Committee, and other influential members. We have also met with the Speaker of the House’s chief of staff and the chief of staff to the Senate majority Leader.
We met with the head of the NC Film Commission, been interviewed and had discussions with staff of the John Locke Foundation and by the chief state legislative reporter for the Associated Press and a reporter for WECT-TV. We met with the representatives for Screen Gems Studio and the Motion Picture Association to discuss and inform them of our proposals for making the film incentive program more effective and beneficial for North Carolina based media production companies and our ideas on increasing industry-wide employment of North Carolina workers. We were successful with having our proposals put before the Secretary of Commerce and Governor McCrory, his Deputy Budget Director Art Pope, Legislative Liaison Fred Steen and his policy team. The Governor’s Budget of 2014 is heavily influenced by our proposal as reported to us from the Governor’s Office.
Overall, we have received very receptive responses from most of the legislators with whom we have met to our proposals for changing the film incentive program to more effectively benefit North Carolina based companies and to concentrate the program’s objective on creating significantly more full-time jobs throughout the state. Even those legislators who have expressed opposition to or have reservations about the incentive program have been very receptive our proposals for changing the incentive program to benefit North Carolina’s home grown companies and to use the changes we suggest to boost employment figures throughout the state.
At the end of the second week of June 2014, we were very instrumental in working with key House members and other supporters of the film and video industry to have a section on the film and video program included in the House budget and the amendment was passed and added to the House budget overwhelmingly, with strong bipartisan support. The House amendment makes significant changes in the current incentive program, as does the Senate proposal that passed a couple of weeks ago. The differing proposals of the House, Senate and Gov. McCrory will be discussed and voted on in joint conference meetings of the House and Senate, and we will continue to work with the members and the Governor’s office and the Secretary of Commerce to make the final product one that will indeed continue to support the film and video industry in the state and to reflect the importance of boosting those companies that are North Carolina based and that provide permanent jobs for many of our citizens.