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CJ Reports: Study says N.C. film subsidies are a bust for taxpayers

According to a recent article by Carolina Journal’s Leonard Robinson III, North Carolina’s film incentives have cost taxpayers in the state $400 million, yet they have not brought in anywhere close to that amount in returns. Robinson’s piece centers around a new study from Western Carolina University Center for the Study of Free Enterprise. According to Robinson:

The study argues that few companies choosing to film in North Carolina actually create jobs. Many bring their talent and crews from elsewhere. Bradbury also cites economists Mark Owens and Adam Renhoff and the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division, which showed in a study that for every dollar spent, North Carolina gains less than 25 cents in return. 

The study’s author, John Charles Bradbury, is not impressed with the findings:

“North Carolina’s film incentives, which have cost the state over $400 million, do not appear to have delivered the promised economic boost. For this reason, policy makers may wish to reconsider the state’s commitment to the incentives.”

JLF’s Director of Regulatory Studies, Jon Sanders, is similarly unimpressed. Sanders suggests a different route:

“Rather than chasing this industry or that with special giveaways, the better approach is to create a pro-growth environment within the state’s borders with low taxes, light regulation, and responsible spending.”

Read the full piece here. Learn more about film incentives in North Carolina here.

Brenee Goforth / Marketing and Communications Associate

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