Both sides already preparing for film incentives debate - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Both sides already preparing for film incentives debate

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The future of film incentives will be decided during the short session in 2014. The future of film incentives will be decided during the short session in 2014.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The future of film incentives in North Carolina will be a major issue when state leaders return to Raleigh in May 2014.

The General Assembly's short session is roughly six months away, and elected representatives on both sides of the debate are already researching and planning for the discussion.

Jobs and spending studies have been released, but Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) said Wednesday that the economic impact that is most difficult to quantify is likely the most important. He said understanding what will be lost by an inability to continue film incentives could sway some support.

"That's probably one of the biggest economic portions of the whole piece of the pie," said Davis.

Davis said he's currently working to collect that data. He's also keeping in touch with other representatives around the state in order to convince them of the need to keep film incentives in North Carolina.

But he doesn't have to look far for what Davis considers the biggest opposition to film incentives – lawmakers who outright oppose all incentives. And Davis doesn't have to look far for find one.

Fellow GOP newcomer Chris Millis (R-Pender) joined another freshman leader, Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover) in the discussion to reform film incentives during the recent legislative session.

Millis said Wednesday night that he does not support incentives for any business or industry. He said it is not the government's role to choose which industries do and do not receive taxpayer money. 

"Not every business snuggles up close to government and gets that piece of the pie," said Millis.

He clarified that he supports the film industry, but Millis said the state's overall tax reform will ensure that North Carolina is a top destination for business. He said he doesn't blame any industry for turning to government for incentives, but that does not mean lawmakers have to oblige.

"What I do have a problem with is elected officials allowing that to happen," he said.

The short session starts May 14, 2014, with the current film incentives plan set to expire at the end of 2014.

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