Featured image for article

NCSL page hits North Carolina’s wrong turn on film grants

North Carolina has a dubious distinction in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ page on state film production incentives programs.

“Since 2009, 13 states have ended their film incentive programs,” NCSL noted. We’ve been discussing that trend here (now over one-third of the country isn’t giving special incentives for film productions), and it’s growing.

As NCSL pointed out,

Most recently, Wyoming and West Virginia eliminated film incentive programs. Wyoming allowed its program to expire, and a bill to reinstate it failed during the 2017 legislative session. On Jan. 29, 2018, West Virginia’s governor signed a bill passed by the Legislature to eliminate the states’ film tax credits. This action followed a January 2018 report released by the states’ legislative auditor that cited the credits’ minimal economic benefit to the state.

Also, NCSL finds several incentives states dipping their toes in repeal waters by cutting back on their programs:

These actions mark a larger trend of states re-evaluating or paring back film incentive programs. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, Colorado, Maryland and Texas reduced the annual appropriation available for film incentive programs. Oklahoma reduced its annual program cap from $5 million to $4 million. Most notably, Louisiana, the pioneer of state film incentives, introduced a $150 million cap on the amount of credits that can be issued each year. This change was enacted due to increasing budgetary pressures in the state and the uncertainty uncapped film credits can create in budgeting.

As Locker Room readers know, North Carolina is running headlong in the wrong direction. NCSL:

While most states maintained the status quo, or reduced film incentives, a few states made slight augmentations to their programs. North Carolina, which switched from a tax credit to a grant program in 2015, increased its annual program cap to $34 million for FY 2018 and eliminated the program’s July 1, 2020 sunset date. Additionally, Utah and Virginia made small increases to the annual funds available for film incentives.

Here’s the recap:

  • Over one-third of U.S. states aren’t providing film production incentives
  • Five more states have cut back or capped their programs
  • All but three of the remaining incentives states have made no changes
  • Utah and Virginia made small increases to their programs
  • North Carolina tripled its program and then effectively eliminated the program’s accountability by getting rid of its sunset date

Incidentally, states have been getting rid of film incentives programs because when they study them, they find film incentives programs simply don’t work. They provide no net boost to the state’s economy while only helping outside film production companies and current workers.

film studies

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

Reader Comments