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Commerce secretary says film plan gives counties option, some local leaders not so sure

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Gov. Pat McCrory proposed a new plan for film incentives in his budget plan.

It raises minimum spending, caps the maximum credit and gives local governments power to give up their share of taxes generated.

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says the plan introduced in a budget bill Thursday definitely raises concerns.

“Not the least of which is the million-dollar required spend,” Hamilton said.

The bill proposes productions spend at least $1 million to receive the tax credit. That’s up from the current level of $250,000.

It has Hamilton worried “that we will push out some of the smaller more innovative, more local film projects.”

Local film projects that might depend on the local government.

McCrory’s proposal gives some power to county commissions by Letting them vote to give up their share of sales and use taxes productions generate. North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says this opens a door.

“It does is give local governments the opportunity to offer the same type of credit, and right now that’s not possible at a local level,” Decker said during a visit to Wilmington Friday.

But New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says it’s not an opportunity, it’s a burden.

“It’s very important that the state steps up and does what it needs to do,” Barfield said.

Barfield, a Democrat who is also running for Congress, says what the state has proposed is unfair and he does not want to accept the offer.

“I do not at all,” he said. “I think it’s gonna be harmful for the entire state.”

Decker says the entire state has many industries, and film is just one of them.

“We need to know what to expect from a cost standpoint,” Decker said. “We’re trying to attract diversity of jobs to the state and this is one industry of many.”

Hamilton sponsored a bill this week to keep the current film incentives from expiring at the end of the year and increase minimum spending to $300,000. She says the governor’s plan at least opens the door for discussion.


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