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Can Film Production Leave Charlotte? You Bet it Can!

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I believe this impacts all of us in Charlotte. In 2009, SB 943 was voted in to increase tax credit to 25% for film and video production in North Carolina. House Bill 1973 increased the cap from $7.5 million to $20 million for an individual production. And because of this, in the last few years, we have seen THE HUNGER GAMES, HOMELAND, BANSHEE and IRON MAN 3 use Charlotte as their backdrop for production, employing our actors, crew, and generating income for local property owners. With the NC film tax credit, there are now speculative strides being made to build a film studio in Charlotte. All discussion and speculation will be abandoned, if Representatives Luebke, Catlin, Millis and Stam succeed with legislation to change the NC film tax credit, making it nonrefundable and making their proposed bill retroactive to January 2013. Production companies will feel like the rug was pulled from under and will not trust doing business in North Carolina.

Business has benefited with the 25% film tax incentive. When a film is in production, ancillary benefit goes to area restaurants, dry cleaners, car rentals, retail stores, tourism market, etc.; helping all business. North Carolina will gain "zero" dollars in tax revenue by revising the film tax credit. Film and video production can and will move elsewhere. Our creative labor force will move elsewhere. North Carolina can't afford to lose industry. We should be attracting industry. And Charlotte has the potential to become the "east coast" production hub, attracting all production and putting our talented creative labor force to work. Marshall M. Silverman, a Hollywood motion picture production executive and former Vice President & Senior Motion Picture Production Council for Warner Bros. Pictures, who is designing a modern state-of-the-art studio to be built in the greater Charlotte area, says, "Motion picture and television producers can potentially inject hundreds of millions of dollars annually into the economy of North Carolina, benefiting a wide cross-section of tax paying businesses, creating jobs and fueling a financial boom; but, if Raleigh-Durham dilutes the incentives relating to production of filmed entertainment, the promise of this infusion of revenues will quickly dissolve."

The United States Conference of Mayors in 2001 had a task force research "runaway production" in the US, led by Mayor Marc Morial, in which I was involved by coordinating a meeting with studio executives. It was concluded that measures should be applied to stop "runaway production" (in the 1990s California lost invaluable revenue in film production; most going to Canada, Australia and Prague). Canada was giving many incentives to lure production away from the US. Although, this wasn't the only damaging factor to California's economy, it was significant. Only recently, has California given incentives to try and get back this vital revenue and save jobs.

If you want to see Charlotte economy receive a piece of this vital multi-billion dollar industry, please email and let Representative Millis (chris.millis@ncleg.net) know your stand on needing to keep NC film tax credit as is. My opinion, North Carolina incentives should be increased to 30% to be competitive with New York, Georgia and Louisiana. It's good for our Charlotte economy. It just makes sense.


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From This Author Linda Ann Watt