Here's a little more info:House Speaker Thom Tillis is feeling the pressure on the question of whether to extend the state’s film incentives, demonstrating the political risks for his U.S. Senate campaign embedded in the state budget.
Tillis is a chief supporter of the tax breaks for film companies but his Republican colleagues shot down an attempt Thursday to extend them as part of the House budget plan. It drew a sharp retort from Wilmington Democratic Rep. Susi Hamilton, who said Tillis “double crossed” supporters of extending them. Tillis retorted by saying Hamilton’s comments were “born out of emotions” and worked against the effort.
Democrats are now working to make the incentives an issue in the U.S. Senate race.
A committee working to elect U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan suggested Tillis is reneging on his support now that conservative groups, such as the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, oppose them. “Speaker Tillis used to support the film tax credit, but now that the Koch Brothers are against it he’s nowhere to be seen,” said Ben Ray, a Forward North Carolina spokesman.
Hagan, a former state senator, supports the current film incentives, a campaign spokesman said. - News Observer, 6/12/14
Tillis claims he didn't sabotage this effort but I call bull shit and here's why:The North Carolina Finance Committee voted against an amendment to its version of the state budget Wednesday morning that would have extended the state's film incentives program.
Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) proposed an amendment to the House budget but it was defeated 20-16. Davis' amendment would have extended tax breaks for movie and television production companies to 2017, reducing a cap on payments from $20 million to $15 million dollars while lowering tax breaks.
"In my heart of hearts, I thought it was going to pass, but it was going to be [a] very, very thin margin – maybe one or two votes at the most," Davis said. "I knew it was a gamble, but it was a gamble we had to take."
Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-New Hanover) claims House Speaker Thom Tillis is responsible for defeating the amendment.
"The Republican leadership allowed the amendment to be heard in finance this morning, sent a message last night to supporters, including our own Rep. Ted Davis that we were going to have success this morning," Hamilton said. "Then, when the committee meeting was going on, it became very clear, very quickly that people were working the room and turning votes from aye to nay."
She said the 4,200 people who work in the film industry should feel betrayed by Tillis.
"There are thousands of employees in District 18 and they certainly do feel double crossed," Hamilton said. "If I were in their position, I would as well."
Hamilton said there are several other incentives programs used in the state to attract business and development.
"What I find most troubling is this incentive benefits Southeastern North Carolina the most and it seems to be the one that the Republican party most wants to eliminate the most," she said.
Davis said he is pursuing other options outside the budget process to extend the film incentives, but would not provide details about his strategy. - WCET, 6/11/14
And Tillis' response to Hamilton's accusations made him look like an asshole:The amendment made in committee failed 20-16, sparking a tit-for-tat between Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte and Wilmington Democrat Susi Hamilton, who has been out front pushing for renewal of the film incentives. Hamilton claimed a Tillis staffer worked the room in opposition of the amendment, which Tillis denied.
Davis said on the House floor Thursday evening that he had “learned a lot about the process” during that committee meeting and “I respect the process.” Davis said that while he preferred his earlier proposal, “I also am a realist and I realize there are not a sufficient amount of folks in the House to pass the film credits as they now stand.”
Under the Senate’s plan, the program would have a $20 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year allocated from two state reserve funds. According to legislative staff, that compares to the roughly $60 million in tax credits paid out during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Also, film companies would have to spend more to qualify for that 25 percent rebate and payout caps would lower significantly.
For a major motion picture feature, the spending threshold would increase to $10 million and the grant payout would be capped at $5 million. For television production, companies would have to spend at least $1 million per episode to qualify, with a payout cap also of $5 million. For commercials, a qualifying company would have to spend at least $500,000, with a payout cap of $250,000. - Star News, 6/12/14
And the NC film industry isn't falling for Tillis' bull shit:When Hamilton called the surprise rejection of the amendment a “double-cross” and “betrayal” of the film community, House Speaker Thom Tillis shot back – telling a StarNews reporter that Hamilton’s remarks were “borne out of emotion”.
Representative Susi Hamilton:
"I’m not going to lower myself to that level. It’s not something he would say about a male legislator in that circumstance, I'm quite confident."
Bill Vassar, Executive Vice President of EUE / Screen Gems, one of the largest private stakeholders in the film industry in the state, also expressed shock at the Finance Committee’s rejection of the Davis amendment. Vassar fired off a strongly-worded statement that ends with: “It’s clear we are not welcome to invest our company’s money, time, and talent here any longer.”
Hamilton says it’s likely that someone will put forth a budget amendment on the House floor addressing film incentives before the House budget is finalized. - HQR, 6/12/14
Of course the State House passed a water down version of the bill:Some of the recent movies and TV shows filmed in the state include "Hunger Games," "Homeland," "Eastbound & Down," "Sleepy Hollow," and "Iron Man 3."
Movies and TV shows aren't the only things filmed in the state. Political ads are as well, and members of the N.C. film industry are fighting back against the legislators who took the first step to end the tax credits in Wednesday's vote. Organizer Frank Eaton called for a boycott of political ad productions for those who plan to vote against the interests of the state's film industry.
"I don't want the politicians who voted against NC film jobs to be able to find a crew for their ads within 500 miles of their districts," said organizer Frank Eaton in a written release. "World class film professionals live here because of the presence of the industry these republicans just killed."
The release goes on to state that many of the legislators against the film incentives will begin shooting ads this summer for November's elections. The list include U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis and the boycott would involve everyone from cameramen to boom operators and grips, most of whom are hired locally.
Eaton states that he hopes the boycott will show people what a state without a film industry looks like. He goes on to say in the release that he hopes the boycott participants will still be a presence at shoots, if need be.
"We'll shadow GOP shoots if we have to," said Eaton. "Every time the cameras roll on a Thom Tillis ad, I want an out-of-work boom operator with a leaf blower right off camera."
The ad boycott is being organized partially through a Facebook group. - WNCN, 6/12/14
But this whole ordeal just shows how slimy Tillis is. I have zero doubt that he sent his staffer to kill this proposal and instead get a watered down version of the bill to make him look like he can get budgets passed. But here's something else you should know about how Tillis handles budget issues:The state House passed an amendment proposed by Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) that changes North Carolina's film incentive tax credit to a Grant Fund, similar to a proposal that has already passed the state Senate.
Unlike the proposal introduced by Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) that allocated $20 million for the Film and Entertainment Grant Fund, Davis' proposal allocates only $5. Davis said during the debate on the floor that the simple allocation is enough to "keep the issue on the table" when members of the House and Senate go into conference to negotiate the differences between each chamber's spending plans.
Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick), who says he would rather lawmakers extend the current film incentive tax credit, raised concerns with Davis' proposal, but also seemed resigned to the GOP majority not favoring that approach. WNCN, 6/12/14
Tillis really has proven to be a scumbag politician on a number of levels. This is one of the biggest and most expensive races this year and the money is pouring in:Gov. Pat McCrory is likely to favor the House’s plan. It includes a number of his priorities, including a so-called “puppy mill” provision added late Thursday by a House lawmaker who partnered with First Lady Ann McCrory to bring attention to the issue.
The House also added a film grant program to the budget as a place-holder, meaning House and Senate lawmakers will need to determine how much to give the program. One of the sponsors of the House amendment said the program would kill the film industry but acknowledged in the seven-hour debate that it was as far as his Republican colleagues would go.
Two major outstanding questions: What do lawmakers do with Medicaid? The House and Senate disagreed on the potential Medicaid overrun costs, who should manage the agency and who should be covered by the care. And what about pay raises for teachers and state employees? The House and Senate found unique ways to pay for it and provided much different salary hikes.
Asked earlier this week whether the House and Senate should negotiate in public this time, Tillis said no. - News Observer, 6/13/14
The Kochs are trying to dupe younger voters into supporting Tillis and we can't let the happen. Click here to donate and get involved with Hagan's campaign:Two groups on opposite ends of the political spectrum are diving into the race with big-money efforts targeted at crucial voter groups: young people and women.
Planned Parenthood plans to invest nearly $3 million to re-elect Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. That's more than it's spending in any other state.
And Generation Opportunity, a group financed indirectly by the conservative Koch brothers, is starting an $800,000 campaign Wednesday to mobilize young voters against Hagan.
"We'll probably spend more here than anywhere else," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said before a Charlotte fundraiser Tuesday night. "It reflects not only how important this U.S. Senate seat is but what a leader Kay Hagan has been for women nationwide."
Generation Opportunity, which bills itself as a "millennial advocacy organization," plans TV and online ads aimed at young voters. President Evan Feinberg calls it his group's first foray into "political accountability."
Its 30-second ad seeks to tie Hagan to government spending that it blames for high unemployment among 20-somethings.
Generation Opportunity has gotten almost 86 percent of the money it raised over three years from two Koch-linked nonprofits, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Other ads have criticized the Affordable Care Act. - Charlotte Observer, 6/10/14