This legislative session, we have continued to make headway for the film industry in the General Assembly. No longer is film an afterthought for the legislature, it is now something they want to address in a big way, and in a way sufficient enough to sustain itself for a long time to come. The new chairman of Ways & Means has directed his staff to work with us on an all-encompassing bill that would allow the film industry to grow exponentially, and they have begun pulling all the relevant data we need to do so.
So what’s the hold up? In two words: Santee Cooper. The state owned utility has consumed all the oxygen in Columbia, and when the Speaker filed his massive education reform package, any remaining air was sucked out of the room. Therefore, we (like many others) were told to get all the kinks worked out with our proposed legislation and it will be on the frontburner come January.
So what are we looking at? For starters, staff is working with us to essentially double the funding from the state—taking the dedicated funding stream from $10M/annually to $20M/annually, then doubling the percentage of the admissions tax and corresponding funds for wage and supplier rebates. In total, that puts the pool of film industry money at a minimum $30M/annually. We are also building in protections to make it difficult to ever get below that again.
Furthermore, the provisos from last year have been adopted once again, protecting wage and supplier rebates from PRT leadership. On that note, we are also building in a provision in the aforementioned legislation to give the Film Commission more autonomy and more help, likely as a stand-alone agency or at least no longer under Director Parish.
All of this is being done in this fashion at the request of the Ways and Means Chairman, and will be used as an amendment to Rep. Weston Newton’s bill, which is co-sponsored by most all of House leadership.
This will be a wholesale revision to the film industry for the better in South Carolina. Legislators want to do something meaningful, as opposed to piecemeal changes every year, and this is how they want to go about doing it.
Boyd Brown, Partner
PO Box 11458
Columbia, SC 29211
The Board of Directors of Carolina Film Alliance has worked long and hard to make this happen. We are an all volunteer board and this is a membership organization. It is your membership fees that pay for our work, the venues and meetings you attend, the speakers you hear.
If you want this to happen, then HELP US by joining or updating your membership, be it individual or business sponsor. We cannot do this alone.
Thank you for your support!