WAAAAAAHHH !!! They’re cutting my welfare! I’m going to Georgia!

wambulanceThe N&O chronicles the movie industry crybabies as they pack up to leave North Carolina in the wake of a state decision to trim and streamline benefits for filming in the state:

There’s no question that if “Homeland” were still in North Carolina, Tiffany Verch would still be in North Carolina.

She grew up in Charlotte and Matthews, graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in dramatic arts in 2006, found consistent work as a costumer for films and TV series in Charlotte and Wilmington, got hired by the Emmy Award-winning Showtime TV series in 2011 and then bought a house in Charlotte in 2013.

But this past April, “Homeland” announced it would move production to South Africa after spending its first three seasons here in North Carolina, where Claire Danes has become as popular as Cam Newton.

So in May, Verch exited stage left, taking work in Georgia on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” that will keep her employed through November.

“I ended up taking that (job) … because everything was up in the air with the film incentives in North Carolina,” said Verch, 30, by phone last week during a break in shooting near Atlanta. “I wanted to stay there. My family’s there; my friends are there. That’s where I want to be. But I have to go where the paycheck is.”

Many of her peers in North Carolina’s film and video production industry are biting their nails and contemplating similar moves as the end of the state’s current film incentive program – responsible for luring TV series like “Homeland” and movies like “The Hunger Games” – looms on the near horizon.[…] 

We’re supposed to feel sympathetic for people who have been taking our money for years while keeping one eye on other states who might give them ONE MORE DOLLAR in freebies? 

It was great for politicians to be able to brag to their folks back home that movie stars will soon be hanging around town, but there were not too many real benefits for the rest of us who have been footing the bill.  The General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division issued an analysis of the film incentives that has gotten little coverage by the drive-by media:

For the 2011 tax year, in which $30.3 million in Film Credits were claimed, the key impacts crying baby
reported here include:

  • Under the most plausible assumptions, the Film Credit likely attracted 55 to 70 new jobs to North Carolina in 2011.
  •  The Film Credit created 290 to 350 fewer jobs than would have been created through an across-the-board tax reduction of the same magnitude.

I’d rather have one of those tax cuts than Will Ferrell hanging around town blocking traffic. 

The fiscal analysis continued to note that the $30.3 million produced $2 million in personal income and $7million worth of “output.”  Between 2007 and 2010, the millions in film credits brought 20 to 30 new jobs to the state each year.

The legislative analysis found that an across-the-board tax cut equal to what was given to the movie people would have brought 370 to 450 new jobs, $21 million in personal income, and $54 million in output.

I’ve got friends in the Southport area who tell me that filming has gotten them little more than road blocks and noise.  The movie companies import their catering and do very little, if any, local business.  If they’re going to demand our money, they ought to try to give us something back in return.  

Why are we bribing people like this to stay here, when we have so many other people who have been committed to North Carolina for years and plan to stay here?  Lighten the burden for everyone, and you might surprise yourselves at the results.  

2 thoughts on “WAAAAAAHHH !!! They’re cutting my welfare! I’m going to Georgia!

  1. To be fair to the N&O, this was actually published in the Charlotte Observer. Expect more of these type of stories through the end of the year to increase the public pressure on legislators to bring back the incentives in some form during the long session next year.

    Mr. Janes’ article is just another classic example of focusing on the seen instead of the unseen. But nobody wants to read an article about all of the things our tax dollars could have gone to, or all of the productive enterprises private individuals could have put their own money to, when we could talk about all the movie stars that won’t be in Charlotte and Wilmington anymore thanks to incentives sunsetting.

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