Changes to film grant program will go in front of lawmakers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Changes to film grant program will go in front of lawmakers

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Changes to the proposed Film and Entertainment Grant Fund will go in front of state lawmakers (Source: MGN Online) Changes to the proposed Film and Entertainment Grant Fund will go in front of state lawmakers (Source: MGN Online)
The proposal includes a 25 percent cap on qualifying expenses for the amount television and film productions can receive through the grant program. (Source: WECT) The proposal includes a 25 percent cap on qualifying expenses for the amount television and film productions can receive through the grant program. (Source: WECT)
RALEIGH, NC (WECT) -

The Film and Entertainment Grant Fund proposal will go back in front of state lawmakers tomorrow and Wednesday, after House and Senate conferees made slight changes to the proposal already approved in the state budget.

According to Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick County), who was one of the four conferees from his chamber, the changes were inserted into House Bill 189, which originally dealt with changes to child support orders.

Lawmakers stripped the language from that bill and renamed it "Various Tax Law and Film Grant Changes', dealing not only with the film grants but also with caps on sales and use taxes levied by local counties.

Rabon says the change will allow the Secretary of Commerce, Sharon Decker, to allocate the grant funds on a per episode basis for television productions.

The proposal includes a 25 percent cap on qualifying expenses for the amount television and film productions can receive through the grant program. There is also a $5 million limit on the grants for feature films, along with a similar $5 million limit for a single episode of a television or video production.

Rabon says the Department of Commerce should be ready to process applications by next month for productions wanting to shoot in North Carolina after January 1, 2015.

"I think it sends a message that we appreciate the industry," said Rabon Monday night. "When we get back [in session] in January hopefully we can tweak the program and make it even better than it stands now."

Rabon conceded that extending the current Film Incentive Tax Credit for another year is unlikely.

The program is due to sunset at the end of this year, after being used for several years to lure in big budget productions like Iron Man 3 and Revolution. Rabon said local lawmakers will continue to work to get more support for the industry in the General Assembly.

"I believe in the long-term, we can change the way many of our legislators think about the film industry, and how beneficial it is to our state," Rabon said.

To see the bill containing the proposed changes, click here: http://bit.ly/1oLhizn.

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