Dear Film Friends:
Our mission remains the same: Do all we can to return the healthy film industry to North Carolina.
During this legislative session, while the exodus of our friends and jobs accelerates, the North Carolina House of Representatives has passed several economic development bills that could be used to address the harm done to the film industry. The Senate has not acted on a single one, and seems uninterested in economic development, even as Volvo, another auto plant, announces it is opening a new facility in South Carolina.
The news in the last few days has reported a total state coffer surplus of $1.1 billion. This reflects $400 million more in collections and roughly $70 million in existing reserves. So the argument that “tough times” is why we cannot return the film industry to a competitive national level simply will NOT fly this year. We should also ask, why does JONES STREET have a surplus, but MAIN STEET does not?
During the “Ironman” season, $84 million was granted as incentives for that banner year. As a result, our industry grew by leaps and bounds! Small business start-ups took root in Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville and across the state. This year, legislation to increase the feeble $10 million grant amount has been introduced in both chambers, as well as a bi-partisan economic development bill which has been introduced in the House with the old film program included. But the fact is, at this late stage in the game, it’s all about a “grant.”
Representatives Ted Davis, Frank Iler, and Susi Hamilton continue to fight for our industry. The House has never been the challenge. Last year Representative Davis, with help from Frank and Susi, passed legislation that would have basically returned us to the film credit system we have long enjoyed, only to see that proposal die in the Senate.
Your House delegation is fighting hard for you, and I feel certain they will in the short term be able to increase the amount of the grant significantly when the House budget is rolled out soon.
We need to thank them and support them.
Whatever they are able to cobble together, and it will not be easy, we must demand that the Senate add a like amount to the fund. Please be clear on what I am saying: for every $100 the House puts in, the Senate needs to add a $100, or $200 total. Otherwise the Senate has not done anything!
IATSE Local 491
“Concerned for the Future of Film and TV in NC!”