Veto would eliminate film incentives for shows like 'Army Wives'

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - A veto by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has some television and film crews worried.

Sanford vetoed a portion of next year's budget, which would nix any incentives currently in place to lure television and film crews to the state. The House voted to override that veto, but now the it is in the hands of the Senate, which will vote Tuesday.

Over the last four years, actors like Wendy Davis have made Charleston their home. Davis moved here full time to shoot the TV show "Army Wives," which is a popular Lifetime show shot in Charleston. If the film industry were to lose its incentives because Sanford's veto stands, that could change things for Davis and others.

"It's really disheartening since so much money has been poured into South Carolina through the film and TV industry," Davis said.

Executive producer Harry Bring said other states courted the show "Army Wives," but in 2006 they created Fort Marshall, the show's set in Charleston, because of the incentives.

"A rebate on payroll and all the things we spend from vendors and rent (were some of the incentives)," Bring said. "Reducing the budget where we can afford the show."

Bring said that the cast and crew has been putting down roots in the community ever since they started filming in the area.

"We're not like a feature who comes in and leaves and gets the benefits the state has to offer," Bring said. "We're here and give much more than a feature has to offer."

The show has helped 469 local vendors survive the economic downturn from lumber companies to caterers. There is also the educational aspect, which helps local college students learn about film making.

"Since 2006, "Army Wives" has pumped more than $100 million into the South Carolina economy with production costs not to mention more than $19 million in salaries and wages and it doesn't stop there," Bring said.

There is also a boost for local tourism.

"Were also spotlighting South Carolina," Davis said. "A lot of people want to come and visit the places and locations they've seen on TV and film and 'Army Wives.' "

If the tax incentives go away, the show might too because Bring says that relocating might not be an option.

"It probably could kill the show," Bring said.

Davis hopes the promises made to get the show here are upheld.

"South Carolina is real big on family values," Davis said. "And keeping your word is a cornerstone of family values."

Sen. Glen MccCnnel said if the veto isn't overridden in the senate, it will affect more than Just the film industry. He said it will send a message to all industries that South Carolina baits and switches and that the state is not business friendly.

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