For those not following the issue, N.C. State professor Robert Handfield produced a study for the Motion Picture Association of America claiming that state film incentives produced significant benefits for North Carolina. This drew a response from economists Patrick McHugh and Barry Boardman of the Fiscal Research Division, questioning Handfield’s methodology. McHugh and Boardman concluded that film incentives are a big net money loser for the state.

The debate resulted in this editorial in today’s Charlotte Observer questioning the value of film incentives. The last paragraph:

There’s no doubt incentives help attract TV and film productions and jobs. But given McHugh’s and Boardman’s convincing gutting of Handfield’s work, legislators should bring great skepticism this summer. Perhaps an alternative approach could be found that doesn’t cost the state so much. If not, and if that means Claire Danes never visits the Observer again, so be it.