What is the fate of North Carolina’s film tax credit, which cost taxpayers $77 million in 2012? Legislators will be looking at that question since the 25 percent credit is set to expire at the end of the year.  Supporters claim the credit creates jobs, so it is reasonable to look at the job data. Turns out state officials don’t seem to know how many jobs are actually attached to the credit. From Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington:

As for jobs, the numbers for 2013 are not available, but for calendar year 2012, at least three different numbers are claimed, depending on the unit of the Department of Commerce you ask: 792 jobs, 2,004 jobs, or 4,100 jobs. 

In addition to the Commerce numbers, the N.C. Department of Revenue’s annual reports claim that 36 film projects employed 17,730 people for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012; and 39 film projects employed 14,002 people for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011.

Don’s story is worth your time, since this issue is on the radar for the legislature.

What should legislators do? If they’re not willing to get out of the incentives game completely, at the very least, they should eliminate the “refundable” nature of the incentive. The state should not be paying film production companies with taxpayer dollars.