Legislative analysts say film-industry study is incorrect - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Legislative analysts say film-industry study is incorrect

The industry-funded report concluded North Carolina’s film credit creates a positive effect of $25.3 million, however, legislative analysts contend the credit creates an overall negative effect of $33.1 million. The industry-funded report concluded North Carolina’s film credit creates a positive effect of $25.3 million, however, legislative analysts contend the credit creates an overall negative effect of $33.1 million.

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – A preliminary review from analysts at the N.C. General Assembly claims a film-industry sponsored report released last week incorrectly concluded that the state's film incentives create positive returns. 

A memo from the N.C. General Assembly's Fiscal Research Division (FRD) "concludes that the reported positive return on investment in based on a series of misunderstandings of the State's tax laws, invalid or overstated assumptions, and errors in accounting."  

"I clearly disagree with this opinion and stand behind the facts and data presented in my study, which involved six months of data collection and interviews with executives and workers in NC's film industry," said the study's author, Dr. Robert Handfield, a supply chain management professor at N.C. State University. 

A group of regional film commissions – including the one based in Wilmington – and the Motion Picture Association of America commissioned the study. 

Handfield concluded North Carolina's film credit creates a positive effect of $25.3 million, however, FRD said the credit creates an overall negative effect of $33.1 million. 

"I was hopeful that the film study was accurate and was disappointed and surprised by the numerous problems that fiscal research found with the study and the return on investment," said Rep. Rick Catlin, who requested the FRD review.  

Catlin stressed the General Assembly analysts are non-partisan and work without conflict of interest. 

The New Hanover County Republican said he has meeting scheduled this week with staff from the governor's office and FRD to discuss possible compromises regarding film incentives. 

"I do have a loyalty to my constituents who depend on the film industry, and I'll do what I can," Catlin said, adding it may be a challenge to get incentives passed in the House and Senate. 

"I find it very strange that Rep. Catlin is trying to kill jobs in our area," said Rep. Susi Hamilton (D) of Wilmington. "His request of legislative staff to debunk the [Handfield] study is consistent with the bill he ran in 2013 calling for an immediate end to the film credit." 

Hamilton said the FRD memo "disagrees totally with the study they performed last year." 

"Neither of their two studies conducted by Fiscal Research has used the correct base data," she said. "How do they have a position on something when they are of two minds?" 

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. 

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