RALEIGH – The legislature may only be back on Jones Street for a few days, but the time constraints didn’t stop Republican lawmakers from removing an end date to a controversial Hollywood Handout funded by taxpayers.
Included in omnibus Senate Bill 582 was a repeal of the sunset provision for the Film and Entertainment Grant Program that was scheduled to end in July 2020, making it a permanent allocation. The program provides taxpayer funded subsidies to film productions in the state.
Sen. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover) spearheaded the move to make permanent the $30 million Hollywood giveaway, arguing the sunset provision risked losing film productions that plan operations and locations years in advance. Of course, those productions support jobs in Davis’ district especially, so it could be said that he is merely bringing home the bacon at the expense of taxpayers across the state.
The free markets advocates at Americans For Prosperity in North Carolina (AFP-NC) are having none of it. Responding to the corporate welfare extension, AFP-NC State Director Donald Bryson said it should “win an Oscar for most egregious waste of taxpayer money.”
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“North Carolinians deserve so much more from their leadership in Raleigh,” Bryson continued. “Doling out millions of dollars to big businesses is not a core function of government. This is not what taxpayers think of when they pay their state income or sales taxes. The North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grants program robs taxpayers to pay millionaires, a reverse robin hood of the worst kind.”
AFP-NC is urging Gov. Roy Cooper to veto the legislation, but the Democrat is unlikely to find fault in big government spending programs.
By removing the sunset during a special session, lawmakers also eliminate future debates on the topic, except perhaps for bickering over how much taxpayer money to give away to corporate interests.