NC House drops NCFilm Grant to $40M

A few hours ago, I got word that the initial proposal for $60M for the film grant has dropped to $40M in the latest version of the state’s two-year budget.   This is what we anticipated. What I can tell you is that it could have been worse.  Our concern at this point is what the Senate will do.  They are a much tougher sell, than the House, just like last session.  Best case scenario, they leave it alone and we get a $40M grant for a two year period.  But from what I am hearing, that is unlikely.  Still, I am hoping for the best. However, even with $40M the money won’t be enough for us to be as productive as we were in 2014, but it will put a lot of our crew members back to work.

SEE THE LATEST DRAFT NOW

 

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NCFILM UPDATE: $60M for film for 2015-2016 and 2016-2017

The 1st draft of the NC House budget for 2015-2016 has come out.  And of course I went straight to film (page 162). I am not sure how this makes any sense what so ever. If you look at the numbers column you will see $0 for 2015-2016, but $60M for 2016-2017. HOWEVER, the verbage says otherwise:

Provides funds to the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund established NR in G.S. 143B-437.02A, to encourage the production of motion pictures, television shows, and commercials and to develop the filmmaking industry within the State. In addition to the $60 million appropriated for FY 2016-17, another $60 million is earmarked and appropriated to the Fund from the FY 2014-15, bringing the total amount available for grants to $120 million.

housedraft

UPDATE: This is going to sound quite confusing but I’m just telling you what was told to me.  The reason why there is no $60M for the 2015-2016 fical year in this budget is because it is coming from the “Unreserved Fund Balance.” From what I’ve been told, that is part of the $400M surplus we had.

So, it looks as though $60M for two consecutive years is a decent starting point. Now, this is not a final budget; it’s just a starting point.  We shall see how it all plays out.  Honestly, it wont be shocking to see that number go down to $30-40M when the NC House is all done with it.  Remember, it still has to go through the Senate too. I will keep you posted!

 

 

 

NC FILM UPDATE: House Budget to be released.

NCFILM UPDATE:
According to Representative Chuck McGrady, a complete draft budget will go on-line at some point today. Then…

“When the budget is approved by the full Appropriations Committee, most likely on Tuesday, a new version of the budget will be available on-line. It will be that version that the House is expected to take up on Wednesday and Thursday (and hopefully not Friday).”  SEE MORE NOW

Then it’s off to the Senate.

I don’t know if we will get the $60+ million that was in the original bill from the House and Senate. We will see what the House comes up with. A few folks are also saying the Senate won’t be as tough on film as they were last session. Hopefully we will see some good numbers so we can get our crew back from other states, from unemployment and generate some cash-flow into our small businesses.

I’ll keep you posted!

12,000 NC JOBS: YOUR CALL TO ACTION.

This is statewide! Go gather up all the film supporters and job advocates in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and everywhere in between.  Please SHARE this with everyone!

The Senate still has not confirmed whether or not they will be in a full session to discuss some serious matters at hand.  Have these 50 members  forgotten why they ran for the opportunity to represent us?  Meanwhile, while they continue to gavel in and gavel out with nothing on their calendar, over 25,000 people who live in North Carolina, are struggling with a decision to leave the state, layoff workers, file for unemployment, look for new ways to supplement their income or look for other employment which is already extremely difficult.  These are the folks that are affected by the film industry and others who work for companies that are depending on money that is waiting to be voted on.

The Senate MUST come together with the House and finish what they started.

Sen. Bill Rabon stood on that stage in Wilmington during the 2014 NC Film Rally and pledged his devotion and loyalty to the NC Film Industry. More than a 1,000 of us witnessed it.  We appreciate the safety net that he has given us, however, we all know it’s not a sustainable solution.  Let me remind you that I have not posted a new production that is coming to NC in quite a while. We should have had at least one but more like 3 announcements by this time.

On the outskirts of the budget that has already been signed, waiting patiently inside S763, is Ted Davis’ Amendment, a lower Tier 1, one year extension of the film incentives. We all know we cannot do business with the Grant.

Without the Senate taking session, here’s what else is on the line.

  • Two proposed manufacturing plants and their 1,400 jobs that the Commerce Department is seeking will not come.
  • The EPA will close the plant in Canton laying off 1,200 workers.
  • The elimination of a major recruitment tool, JDIG.  This will effectively take NC out of the job recruitment business for one year. If past performance is a guide, this will cost 6,000 jobs just in the recruits the Secretary is engaged with now.

8,600 jobs. Add film in the equation and you get a total of 12,000 that are at stake.

It is up to us, North Carolina, to ask our Senate leaders to go back to session and do what they promised to do when they got elected. Put People BEFORE Politics. Create and sustain jobs.

Please contact your Senators NOW!

Be nice!  Be Polite!  Do NOT give them any reason to say film supporters are crazy lunatics! And please use your own words.  Here’s the gist of it:

“Please, get your team back into session. Jobs are on the line. The job creation legislation already approved by the House and Governor McCrory. We need 763, and my job will rely on Ted Davis’ amendment to extend the film incentives.”

Wilmington Area: 

Bill Rabon is the co-chair of the finance committee. He has a seat at the big table, and he has the power to sway the Senate leadership to get back into session.

Bill Rabon.

BILL RABON
Phone: (919) 733-5963
Email: Bill.Rabon@ncleg.net

Asheville area:

Tom Apodaca. You guys have more than film on the line for you.  Including 1,200 jobs at risk in Canton, NC alone.

TOM APODACA
(919) 733-5745
Email: Tom.Apodaca@ncleg.net

 

Charlotte area: 

JOEL FORD
(919) 733-5955
Email: Joel.Ford@ncleg.net

JEFF JACKSON
(919) 715-8331
Email: Jeff.Jackson@ncleg.net

BOB RUCHO
(919) 733-5655
Email: Bob.Rucho@ncleg.net

FLETCHER HARTSELL
(919) 733-7223
Email: Fletcher.Hartsell@ncleg.net

JEFF TART
(919) 715-3050
Email: Jeff.Tarte@ncleg.net

 

Raleigh area:
NEAL HUNT
(919) 733-5850
Email: Neal.Hunt@ncleg.net

JOSH STEIN
(919) 715-6400
Email: Josh.Stein@ncleg.net

DAN BLUE
(919) 733-5752
Email: Dan.Blue@ncleg.net

 

Greensboro  area: 

GLADYS ROBINSON
(919) 715-3042
Email: Gladys.Robinson@ncleg.net

 

Winston-Salem area:
JOYCE KRAWIEC
(919) 733-7850
Email: Joyce.Krawiec@ncleg.net

 

All of North Carolina: 

PHIL BERGER
(919) 733-5708
Email: Phil.Berger@ncleg.net

Remind them why they ran for the opportunity to represent us. They speak for us.

All of North Carolina:

CONTACT YOUR NORTH CAROLINA SENATOR NOW!

NC Politics 101: PART I – The General Assembly

Politics.  Government.  The most confusing conversation to have if you don’t have a Political Science degree.  And even then, I have heard from those in politics that have said in regards to this short session, “In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

When I blogged last week, I still received numerous calls and messages exclaiming, “I don’t understand.” and “I’m so confused!”  Yeah, no kidding.  So perhaps I can help with adding a little state government 101 to the blog.  Okay, here we go.  Let’s start with the basics.

We are dealing with two teams in the legislative branch:  The House and the Senate.  Now who are they, what are their differences, and what does each do?

Plain and simple, the Legislative Branch makes laws.  When you put the House and the Senate together, they are called the General Assembly.   Every two years, we vote them in and vote them out.

Although the state is already divided by counties, we are also divided by districts.  House members have theirs districts and the Senate has their own as well. Some members of the Senate, for example, represent five counties. And there are multiple House representatives in some counties as well.

The NC House has 120 folks on their team.  Right now we have 77 Republicans and 43 Democrats. They serve 2 year terms.  Each House member serves about 79,000 NC residents, folks like you and me, in their district.  They call us “constituents.” The head of the House is called The Speaker(of the House).   Right now the Speaker of the House is Thom Tillis.

The NC Senate has only 50 folks on their team.  Right now we have 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats. They serve 2 year terms.  Each Senate member serves about 190,000 constituents in their district.  The head of the Senate is called President Pro Tempore. Right now the Pres. Pro Temp is Phil Berger.

Now that being said, the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Senate and oversees the daily sessions. Currently, we have Dan Forest.  He was elected by us, not the Senate, for a four year term. He doesn’t vote in the Senate unless it is to break a tie. (Like what Bev Perdue did in 2005 to create our state lottery).

Besides that, their is not much difference between the two.  The General Assembly is “bicameral.”  That’s just a fancy way of saying it takes both the House and the Senate to agree in order for things to become law.  Of course the Governor needs to sign it into law after the General Assembly agrees (more in another blog about that).

There are two main sessions that take place with the folks that represent us.  The Long Session and the Short Session.

The Long Session happens during odd-numbered years.  It starts in January and can go all the way into the summer months.   This is where the state budget is crafted.

Right now, we are experiencing the Short Session.  Not so short, right?  A short session is always during  even-numbered years, as in now, 2014, and usually the General Assembly meets from May to July.  As you are experiencing, it can go waaayyyy longer.  The short session happens so that our legislators can make tweaks and fixes to the budget which they wrote up during the Long Session.  We will be back in the Long Session this coming January.

Members of the House and Senate will change as the general elections are on Tuesday, November 4th.  Here is a link to the board of elections with 100 counties listed.  Click on your county and visit their web site to see who is running. GO TO BOARD OF ELECTIONS NOW  (If you haven’t registered to vote yet, the deadline is around October 10th.  Get on it!)

Stay tuned for PART II: WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY SAYING?

Any questions?  Comment below!

A message to Speaker Tillis and members of the NC House.

Speaker Tillis (and members of NC House),

We represent over 10,000 registered voters who are either film workers, or are their families and friends. The decisions you make in the days ahead will determine if we can continue to work, pay taxes and raise families here.

We will all be voting in the November election, and you can be absolutely certain that we will be motivated to get others to do so as well. We love our communities, we love working here, and we do not want to see our livelihood pushed out of state. You have the power to help keep good, clean jobs here.

The fact is, North Carolina has built a clean, multi-billion dollar industry for over 30 years that employs thousands in life-long careers, and generates needed revenue for thousands of small businesses.

Film tourism brings unprecedented numbers of visitors and their vacation dollars here, making another dramatic and positive impact on our economy.

Georgia and South Carolina are most eager for you to do the wrong thing for North Carolina, and send our jobs and revenue their way. Just the rumor of losing our incentives has already sent several television series, their production dollars and jobs we need to other states.

We are asking you to do the right thing for our state, and extend the existing incentive as it is. We have a good thing going for all of North Carolina. Please, don’t destroy it. And you can count on the fact that we will remember, in large and active numbers, what you do to support the film incentive, or to destroy it.

Please see short video below from the NC Film Crew Members (Runtime 1:14).

Signed,

Supporters of the NC Film Tax Incentive