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Senate Finance Committee helps state’s film incentives

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The state’s film incentives took a big step forward Wednesday. The Senate Finance Committee approved raising the tax break for production companies from 15 to 25 percent.

Wilmington and the state were stung this spring by the last-minute loss of a Miley Cyrus movie to Georgia, which has a 30 percent break. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo testified before the finance committee in Raleigh Wednesday. He is cautiously optimistic as the bill moves to the full Senate.

“They want to make sure the incentive is proper. Obviously, things are tough right now; people are cutting back, teachers are being laid off in some cases. They want to make sure the incentive is fair and it is equitable and it is something that makes sense, “ said Saffo. “But if we are going to be in the game in regards to film and the film industry we are going to have to step up our incentive. Forty-two states in this country have film incentives. Twenty-eight states have higher incentives than us.”

The timing is a challenge as state lawmakers are in late-stage talks on cutting spending and raising taxes to produce a balanced budget by July.

There is a companion film incentive bill on the House side awaiting action.

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The state’s film incentives took a big step forward Wednesday. The Senate Finance Committee approved raising the tax break for production companies from 15 to 25 percent.

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