film incentives

Is Phil Berger trying to kill off NC's film industry?

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Cutting off funds and stealing the reserves:

The Senate budget proposal does not include $31 million in new film grant funding that the state House budget has for 2019-20. Any leftover funding amount each fiscal year rolls over into surplus. At last count, there was $65 million in the film grant fund balance.

Berger said during a Tuesday press conference the Senate plans to siphon an unspecified amount of the film grant surplus toward other state funding needs.

This is what happens when you let somebody have absolute power over the process; they pull idiotic moves like this knowing they won't suffer any personal consequences. This would be a bad idea in any annual budget, but considering our biggest competitor (Georgia) just pissed off a bunch of producers with their new abortion law, the timing couldn't be worse:

Choosing voodoo economics over successful ventures a recipe for failure

The following Op-Ed was apparently not ready for Prime Time viewing:

NC’s motto “Esse Quam Videri,” to be rather than to seem, should be more than just a quaint Latin reference on our State’s Seal. It should be an organic, working principle to guide us, as it was originally intended. Even for those on the right who profess to believe state government should be run like a business, when something you’re doing is working, and working so well it exceeds all expectations you had about its viability, you don’t try to actively undermine that success. Scheme and plot to make it go away. If you did that in a publicly-held corporation, your shareholders would revolt, and sweep that Board of Directors right out the door, and replace them with more responsible leaders.

In the government realm, those shareholders are the voting public, not the shadowy PACs funded by wealthy individuals who would sacrifice overall economic growth for personal profits every day of the week.

Author's note: Sometimes these essays have their origin in a single misleading sentence in the news, generating a desire to set the record straight. In this case, it was actually a symbol that I had seen one too many times, the Georgia Film logo (with a peach, of course) that got my mind churning. Here's the rest:

Too little, too late: NC GOP's film incentives shell game

Happy talk won't put these pieces back together:

Ted Davis has declared North Carolina’s film industry “officially back open for business.” The state representative’s statement–made after lawmakers reached a $30 million compromise on the N.C. Film Grant Program–was preceded earlier this week by news that a TNT pilot is set to shoot in the Port City next month.

Senator Michael Lee would agree. “I am pleased that my Senate colleagues, after much negotiation, have agreed to increase the funding levels for this important program,” he said. “While there is still much more that can be done, today is a victory for both our region and our state.”

A victory? The only "victors" in this embarrassing series of blunders are the State of Georgia and the anti-government nut-jobs at the John Locke Foundation. We've sent a clear message to not only the film companies already engaged in North Carolina, but also those who might have considered shooting here, that we are simply not mature enough to maintain a stable environment for their business. Aside from slashing film incentives and chirping about what we "might be willing to spend," the fricking budget is two months late already, and negotiations are not promising. Two months of uncertainty in the film business, especially when you've got television schedules to consider, is a project-killing nightmare. And for Davis and Lee: The people in the Wilmington area know the Republican Party caused this nightmare. You might want to update your resumes.

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