Is there enough support to restore N.C. film tax credit?

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Sen. Harper Peterson, D-New Hanover, is using his first sponsored bill to push for a reboot to the state’s film tax credit program – even though the freshman senator knows it faces an uphill climb.

Peterson, who won the District 9 seat in November’s midterm, introduced a bill Wednesday that would reenact the credit for qualifying expenses for film and television production companies. The credit, which offered 25 percent back on qualifying expenses, was allowed to expire in 2014 by the N.C. General Assembly after a lengthy battle with local film crew and advocates who fought to keep it, citing its value in luring productions to the state.

That year, $264 million in in-state spending by productions was reported to the N.C. Department of Revenue, with the state paying out $66 million in credits.

In 2015, the state instituted a grant program that initially started out with just $10 million in funding. Through multiple revisions, that program is now allotted $30 million annually with no sunset date.

But some within the film community continue to voice support for the tax credit, seen as the more legitimate method to landing productions when competing with states like Georgia that have reaped the benefits of a stronger incentive program for film.

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