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N.C. films qualified for $61 million in rebates

RALEIGH (AP) — Films made in North Carolina spent almost $245 million during the last fiscal year and qualified for $61 million in rebates under the state’s film incentive program. About $35 million worth of those rebates had been paid from the state’s general fund as of late last month.
Figures from the state Department of Revenue released this week also show that 33 productions filmed in North Carolina qualified for the rebates. They employed almost 14,000 workers.
The incentives were sweetened three years ago to lure film projects to North Carolina. Before that, about $57 million a year was spent on film productions. Much of the filming in the state is based in Wilmington which has a major film studio.
The film incentives program offers a 25 percent refund to productions that spend more than $250,000 on qualifying services. The program expires at the end of the year.
Lawmakers in Raleigh will debate renewing it when the legislative session begins May 14.
Supporters of the incentive say it has worked in attracting film projects. But opponents say the incentives should lure permanent jobs, not temporary film jobs that come and go.
The reports also show claims for incentives by film companies have averaged $59 million a year since 2011. In the three years before that, the claims averaged just under $10 million per year.

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