Tweak details, but keep film incentives

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North Carolina’s incentives arrangement with major motion picture studios and television networks certainly needs some tweaking.

The most infamous example of why was a $300,000 incentive offered to “The Daily Show” for its coverage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. It isn’t as if the satirical program would have skipped covering the convention altogether without the incentive, after all.

But with “The Daily Show” and a few other exceptions aside, the incentives program has been a boon for North Carolina.

That has been particularly true for Wilmington and Charlotte – the two areas of the state that have seen the most movie and television show activity. But television and movie studios require carpenters to build sets, technicians to run lights, sound and computer programs, and plenty of support in transportation, catering and housing.

While some North Carolina legislators have been critical of the financial impact of paying out incentives to rich Hollywood studios, plenty of North Carolinians benefit from the work those studios create here.

As we noted at the beginning of this piece, the incentives system needs some work, but the N.C. General Assembly would be remiss if it scrapped incentives altogether.

At the moment, the legislature has no agreement in place to extend incentives into the next fiscal year.

Plenty of other states – South Carolina and Georgia, to name a couple of our neighbors – would love to have those jobs and investment.

Incentives are an ugly part of the race to bring home new industries.

It would be a shame if North Carolina’s once-healthy film industry decided to pack up and go South.