FILM INCENTIVES EMERGENCY

**UPDATE** I spoke with Carey Jones, Vice Chair of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission this morning on the air about Bill H994 and the Rally.  Here’s what she had to say: LISTEN NOW

Remember the great press release that sang praises for the first quarter of this year due to the film industry boom in NC?  Let me refresh your memory:

ncfilm

“As the first quarter of 2013 comes to an end, the North Carolina Film Office (NCFO) continues to see record-breaking numbers for the state’s film industry.  Over 20 productions have indicated they intend to film, or have already begun filming, in North Carolina, with a total direct in-state spend in excess of $138 million while creating more than 13,000 job opportunities, including 2,100 well-paying crew positions for the state’s highly skilled film professionals.”

With the reminder being put in place, an unsettling panic from every branch of the film industry has spread across the state as a bill is being introduced by our “representatives” of North Carolina.

This reminded me of another article in the Star News that came out just before Azalea Festival.  If you remember there was a little talk with completely skewed low numbers coming out of some of the General Assemblies’ mouths.  Billy Saffo was outraged by their comments.  After I read it, I sure as hell wanted to slap somebody.  But I thought, wow, they’re ignorant, and shook my head because they was no way anyone could take them seriously…Was I wrong?

State Reps, Rick Catlin and Chris Millis and (along with others) have submitted the first draft of what many are calling a JOB KILLER BILL, H994.

So, what is all this mess about?  From what I understand, the intent of this bill is to repeal the cash rebate and replace it with a tax credit.  And they want it retro to January 2013.  I can’t imagine CBS, Warner Brothers, and NBC being okay with that.  I believe that is called breach of contract.   We all can conclude, however, if this did happen and the filming well went dry, as many think it would, how long would it take to get things back the way they are now?  It took, what, 6 years to get the 25% tax incentive in the first place..

Last year, productions spent over $376 million in North Carolina and created more than 4,100 well-paying crew positions and nearly 20,000 job opportunities.  So, the question is would North Carolina like to have 75% of $376 million or nothing at all?  Again, let me remind you, this year alone the film industry has already spent “$138 million while creating more than 13,000 job opportunities, including 2,100 well-paying crew positions for the state’s highly skilled film professionals.”

But it not only affects the thousands of people hired for each film, but it will have a major impact on the vendors as well i.e. hotels, local mom n pop shops, lumber, paint stores, restaurants, tourism.  The list goes on and on.  The productions spend the money where we need the money to go.

The media picked up on this ire from the film industry quickly.   Star News’ Cassie Foss jumped right on it: Local film leaders say bill would end N.C. film industry.   Kudos to our Mayor to continue the support.  Julian March posted this WATCHDOG ARTICLE today.

So what can you do?

1) JOIN THE RALLY!  Filmmakers, Actors, Set Dressers, fans of the film industry, YOU, all of you, are invited to attend a rally!

Saturday, April 20th – Riverfront Park (Market Street and Water) – 1:45pm.   

The Facebook invite says: “Bring your family, call your co-workers, reach out to your vendors, invite your neighbors, make sure your friends that work as extras are are aware. Contact your DGA friends, make sure the Teamsters and their families are aware. This bill is designed to end the film industry in NC. It is up to all of us to change the course.”

Here’s another link from the Wilmington Regional Film Commission urging you to attend the rally.

2) SIGN THE PETITON – I am sure it will get signatures, dunno if we can get 100,000 but I like to be optimistic.

3) WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVEYep, the tried and true method, let them hear from you.  Especially the vendors I mentioned above.  You need to let your voice be heard if you would like to keep what we have.

Bill H994 is only a first draft, so no need to panic, but I can certainly understand it.  Let’s hope it ends up on the cutting room floor.

Lemme know your thoughts, and if I understand everything correctly.  If not, lemme know.  School me and the rest of NC.  Everyone needs to know. Post your comments below or email me: sheila@1045sunnyfm.com

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8 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to share exactly HOW MUCH Tax Money the State of NC took in due to Film…… after Incentives were paid out…. what was the resulting tally? It would be interesting to see Estimated or Exact Payroll Taxes film crews paid in the last few years….. The numbers speak loudly and cannot be denied…… what say you NC Film Office!?

    • Here are some numbers for you …..

      TALKING POINTS ABOUT 2012 FILM BENEFITS

      -42 Projects (That Participated in the NC Film Tax Incentive Program)
      -3911 Crew Hires (3911 “Start” Paperwork Files For Each New Hire)
      -1466 Talent Opportunities (Speaking and/or Union Acting Opportunities)
      -13,589 Extra Opportunities (99%+ “Local” Hires)
      -3847 “Production” Days (Does NOT include Pre-Production and “After-Production” Days)

      -$376,739,150 (Amount of Direct North Carolina “Spend.” Which means $ spent at businesses who are headquartered in NC!)
      -Production Exceeded Expectations by More than $100,000,000

      Between Direct Film Jobs and Indirect Jobs Created By the Incentive; The Industry Supports Approximately 4000 Families in North Carolina

      Film Jobs Pay At Least $10/hour More Than Average Manufacturing Wage in NC (Many Pay More!)

      Film and Television Jobs Include Overtime after 8 Hours Worked, Employer Paid Health Insurance, a Defined Contribution Benefit, as well as a Pension so Workers Do Not Burden a County or State as “Uninsured” for Health Care and the Pension Which Affords Workers a Chance to Retire With Dignity

      Even Small “Low Budget” Films Will Employ As Many or More Than 100 People Each Day

  2. Hi Sheila,

    So just to be clear, this is a state bill, not a federal bill. People need to write their NC state legislature, not their Congressmen and women. A petition to the President will have no effect while one to the state legislators and the governor would have more effect (referring to the links above).

    A few facts:

    Our current Film Incentive is a 25% rebate on state sales tax paid (capped at $2 million) to vendors IN STATE.

    The proposed change will give tax credits towards future productions which only affects production companies whose funding and business originates in NC, where they have Tax Liability, and not the productions who come to the state to film and then leave.

    Thanks for spreading the word!

    Jaime

  3. Your representative link goes to the House of Representatives, who have nothing to do with legislation making its way through the NC General Assembly. You need to change it to get to the people in Raleigh. As for Rick Catlin, I just cannot understand how a representative of the district at the heart of NC’s film industry could sponsor such a bill. Remember this when it’s time to go to the polls again!

  4. I just sent this to Rick Catlin:

    Dear Mr.Catlin –

    As someone who is allegedly in Raleigh to serve the interests of New Hanover County, the heart of NC’s film industry, I cannot believe you sponsored a bill that would strangle our state’s ability to compete for lucrative productions. I do not work in the film industry, but even I can see how much they contribute to the local economy specifically, and the state economy in the broader sense. If you persist in this bill, I will personally do whatever I can to make sure your time in Raleigh as my representative is a short one.

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