SC’s Movie, TV Industries Watch Tug of War for State, Federal Tax Incentives

The size of any area’s movie and television production industries depends heavily on how much business can be lured through tax incentives, and South Carolina’s growth is at a crossroads that has local advocates asking for help at the state level while independent production companies are eying possible restorations of federal deductions. South Carolina will offer rebates to production companies that work in the state and spend at least $1 million, submit receipts, and apply for a 30% tax rebate on total in-state purchases with state suppliers. The state also offers a 25% rebate for wages paid to state residents subject to state tax. While the state’s film office averages around $15.5 million to distribute annually, the nonprofit Carolina Film Alliance is looking for at least $30 million next year in state funding for film production rebates, to “ensure we don’t lose out on productions so folks who work in the film industry don’t have to be nomads for three, four, five months out of the year when we run out of (rebate) money when production stops,” said former state representative Boyd Brown, whose lobbying firm represents the Alliance. According to the South Carolina Film Commission, the state’s films, TV series and commercials spent $279.2 million from 2014-2018 while receiving state rebates of $59.4 million. However, neighboring states Georgia and North Carolina regularly offer their own aggressive tax incentive packages to entertainment productions. Meanwhile, Congress might vote this fall on restoring pre-2017 tax deductions, but filmmakers prefer state rebates because they often lead to faster reimbursement.  (The State)

Bad News from HR: More than 800 Charleston County Employees at Risk After Data Mishandled

A Charleston County human resources employee accidentally emailed a list of personal data of more than 800 of its current and former workers to an ex-county employee, resulting in a sheriff’s office inquiry and a disciplinary process for that employee. The county has been alerting employees whose data was compromised, which included names, birth dates, social security numbers, hiring dates and salary but not bank account information, according to a county spokesman, and the county is offering a year of free credit monitoring. (Post and Courier)

Orangeburg County Breaks Ground on $21M Opportunity Zone Construction

Orangeburg County officials were joined by economic development leaders at the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park to break ground on what they are calling the first industrial buildings built in the state – and perhaps in the country – in an Opportunity Zone. The $21 million project is privately funded NAI Earle Furman of Greenville, and the commercial real estate firm will help develop and market two buildings on the property’s 24 acres. The first building, to be known as the Millennium Speculative Building, is expected to be finished by June as a 200,720-square-feet facility located near Allied Air Enterprises and GKN Aerospace, and could be home to a single company or multiple tenants. Construction on the second building, slated for 160,000 square feet, will begin next door once the first Millennium facility is leased. Al Jenkins, regional director for U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, said that nearby Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and Denmark Technical College can provide job training for upcoming tenants. “There are two HBCU campuses just down the road (South Carolina State University and Claflin University). This is going to be a tremendous opportunity for those graduates to stay in their town, to live here, play here and work here.”  (The Times and Democrat)

7th Annual Global Carolina Connections Conference Set for USC

International investment and the manufacturing landscape of the Carolinas will be the focus of the seventh annual Global Carolina Connections Conference at USC’s Pastides Alumni Center on Wednesday, Aug. 21 (details and registration are here). Topics will include how to attract and retain global business talent, as well as the state of foreign direct investment from Europe and China. Tax advisers and international law experts are scheduled to discuss trends, and among panelists and keynote speakers will be executives from Bank of America, BMW, Giti Tire, JPMorgan Chase, and representatives of global manufacturers who operate in the Carolinas. (Columbia Regional Business Report)

What’s in a Name? Judge Bars Lawyer George Sink Jr. From Using “George Sink” Branding

A federal judge’s temporary restraining order forbids North Charleston attorney George Sink Jr. from using “George Sink” on his law firm’s email address, social media and website, pending a hearing with an arbitrator. Sink Sr.’s personal injury corporation sued Sink Jr. to bar him from professionally promoting his birth name, saying it conflicts with trademark law and confuses consumers from his father’s longtime television advertising campaigns. In February, Sink Jr. started his own law firm, George Sink II Law Firm, a few days after his father fired him George Sink P.A. Personal Injury Lawyers. A lawyer for the father’s firm in a court hearing last month said Sink Jr. purposefully embedded markers in his website so search engines would point inquires for “George Sink” toward his site rather than to the one his father invests millions of marketing dollars every year. The judge’s order does not prevent Sink Jr. from practicing law under his given name, but he most do more to differentiate the firms with his advertising. (Post and Courier)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Twenty-five years ago, as a farmer, this was a field of dreams. We started out with a field of dreams, but we no longer live in that era in time in economic development.”

Orangeburg County Councilman Harry Wimberly, at the groundbreaking for the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park, which will be built on a former corn field near Interstate 26 and U.S. Highway 301