(The Center Square) — Gov. Roy Cooper and state officials are celebrating more than $15 million in taxpayer-funded rebate grants for five television and film projects, despite evidence showing negative returns for the state.
“We are excited to have more cameras rolling across our state,” Cooper said. “Having North Carolina communities as the backdrop for independent and studio-supported projects is a positive multiplier for our talented workforce, our small businesses and our economy.”
Taxpayers will provide up to $7 million for a Universal Pictures feature-length film “Untitled Please Don’t Destroy,” the maximum rebate grant for a feature-length film. Production will take place in Burke, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.
Another $6.5 million will go to the television series “Welcome to Flatch,” which will be returning to southeastern North Carolina for a second season. The Fox series from Lionsgate Television is already under production in Duplin, New Hanover and Pender counties, with filming expected to run through October.
The feature-length film “Site” will get a film rebate of $937,500 for filming in the Charlotte area, while the independent feature-length film “Eric Larue” was approved for a grant of up to $589,105 for production in the greater Wilmington area.
The made-for-TV streaming move “Second Time Around” received an award of up to $156,250. The show, which will stream on the PureFlix service, recently completed filming in Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties, according to a Cooper statement.
The governor contends the projects will produce direct in-state spending of more than $61 million and create more than 2,400 “job opportunities” in North Carolina. Film-related production spending in North Carolina is expected to total more than $241 million and create 13,000 “job opportunities,” through deals secured so far in 2022, Cooper contends.
“We are excited to have more and more productions creating economic development opportunities in our state,” said North Carolina Film Office Director Guy Gaster. “From feature-length films to television and streaming series, to commercials and travel shows, our state is once again proving to be a top choice for production.”
The North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grants, which are administered by the Department of Commerce and promoted by the North Carolina Film Office, provide taxpayer money to attract feature film and television productions that are supposed to stimulate economic activity and create jobs.
“Production companies receive no money up front and must meet direct in-state spending requirements to qualify for grant funds, which are paid out following the completion of the project and a successful audit,” according to a Cooper statement.
Brian Balfour, senior vice president of research for The John Locke Foundation, told The Center Square the program is essentially corporate welfare, which experts oppose because it doesn’t work.
“These film grants represent more taxpayer funded corporate welfare. There’s no legitimate reason taxpayers should be forced to subsidize Hollywood productions,” he said. “Making matters worse, research has shown that film grants are a net loser for the state, producing negative returns.”
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
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