PENDER COUNTY – State Representative Chris Millis released the following statement regarding House Bill 994, the much talked about NC Film Incentive Bill on his Facebook page this week. The following is his unedited statement:
There has been much deception regarding House Bill 994 in the past few days and I would like to provide you with the truth. First of all, this bill does not repeal the NC Film Incentives but rather brings to light the fact that the current incentive structure is highly misleading to the citizen. It appears to the individual that North Carolina provides a 25% tax credit of up to $20 million dollars to each film production, but the truth is that the current incentive structure allows the production to walk away from our State with a bonus from our taxpayers above and beyond the taxes that they would have paid to operate in North Carolina. It is true that if the production’s actual tax liability is less than the credit, then the State cuts the production a check for the remainder. Instead of allowing these film productions to walk away with bonuses paid for by taxpayer dollars, House Bill 994 simply says that these productions can simply carry forward the remainder of the tax credit to the next year (5 years total).
Rather than articulating the truth about what House Bill 994 actually does to reform the incentive structure for the betterment of the taxpayer, the film industry has misled their members, and the public at large, by claiming that our bill aims to kill the film industry and jobs. If there is anything that will deter film productions to come to North Carolina, it is the propaganda that has been spread by the Film Union regarding this legislation. For House Bill 994 improves the integrity of our tax program and encourages the film productions to return to North Carolina in order to realize the remainder of the tax credit for the next project.
As a result, I encourage you to ponder that if this is the truth regarding House Bill 994 then why has the Film Union acted in this way? Why inform their members that the bill sponsors are out to kill the film industry when it is not the truth? Why has the Film Union began running “robo-calls” to constituents stating bold face lies about me and Representative Catlin? Simply because special interest, such as the Film Union, wants your State Legislators to not dare to pull back the curtain of how these incentive programs work. The Film Union desires to keep the taxpayer in the dark while the dollars taken from our pockets for public safety, teachers, and infrastructure are paid in the form of bonus to their industry. I hope you can see that I am willing to take the bruises on behalf of you the citizen. I was elected to stand on principle, not to bend to the pressure of special interest or Union muscle. You deserve a Statesmen and not a politician.
Your State Legislator should be focused on being accountable with your hard-earned tax dollars, and I consider it a tremendous responsibility to make sure that our tax dollars are handled in a manner with up most transparency. House Bill 994 brings to light a need for further accountability surrounding State programs that are aimed to incentivize business in North Carolina. Note that I have focused my remarks on the truth about what House Bill 994 does and the reason for the attacks by the Film Union, but note that I have not begun to articulate the economic argument of how the State taxpayer dollars given to the film industry does not bring forth a greater growth than a reduction of your tax burden. There is much data that illustrates that the economic results support the need for lawmakers to simply lower the tax burden for all individuals by the same dollar amount that is currently being usurped out of this State and put in the hands of the Film Union.
-Rep. Chris Millis