From an editorial Wednesday in the (Greensboro) News & Record:
With governors and legislatures every bit as conservative and Republican as in North Carolina, our two neighbors to the south are luring away movies and television shows that used to spend their money here because those states are willing to pay more in incentives.
North Carolina’s once-robust film industry may be going the way of the drive-in. Among the latest to leave was the production company of the series “Sleepy Hollow,” which had become a fixture in Wilmington. Now the cops-and-ghosts fantasy has moved to Georgia.
A state legislature bent on curbing incentives has so severely cut North Carolina’s tax credits and rebates program for movies and TV that the state is bleeding movie jobs.
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Before lawmakers allowed it to expire in 2014, the old incentives program rebated 25 percent of the money film productions spent in the state on designated expenses, or up to $20 million per film.
The new incentives program, a grant fund, pays from a total pot of only $10 million and will pay no one film more than $5 million.
Why even bother?
Meanwhile, the Republican governor in Georgia, which offers a 30 percent film tax credit, is smiling all the way to the bank. Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that 248 movie and TV productions in Georgia generated more than $6 billion in economic impact.
Back in North Carolina, we’re still swatting ideological flies. And making peanuts.