Thanks to new but controversial tax breaks, 2011 was a marquee year for North Carolina's film industry, which landed big-name projects "Iron Man 3," "Homeland" and "Hunger Games."
Studios chasing tax incentives increased their spending in North Carolina nearly threefold - from $75 million in 2010 to $220 million in 2011. It was a record year, and 2012 should be even better - the N.C. Film Office is projecting the industry will spend at least $275 million.
A year ago, state law changed so moviemakers could get a refund on 25 percent of salaries and money they spent on taxable items in North Carolina, worth up to $20 million per project. It made the state among the most competitive in the nation in tax breaks for the industry.
But even with the investment windfall, Hollywood tax breaks remain a contentious issue. Even in North Carolina, some ask why the entertainment industry should get special treatment. Read reporter Mark Washburn's full report in the Charlotte Observer here.