Runaway bill at standstill

Possible tax credits for Calif. prod'ns

The California Senate Appropriations Committee postponed debate Monday on proposed legislation that would combat runaway film and TV production.

Although testimony was taken at Monday’s session of the committee, legislators decided to place the matter — initially two separate Assembly bills now combined into one — on the so-called suspense calendar, for items deemed to have a potential fiscal impact of more than $150,000. Once on the calendar, some proposed bills are simply left to die, while others are taken up after legislators determine what they can afford.

It’s expected that the legislation, which would provide tax credits for film and TV productions that shoot in California, will be debated at a full Appropriations Committee hearing later this month. If it gets through the committee, it will then go to the full Senate, and, if passed by the Senate, to the governor.

Tax credits

The measure, now known as Assembly Bill 358, would provide a 10% tax credit for TV movies and series shot in the state, and a credit of like amount for labor costs on film and TV productions costing $5 million or less to produce.

Passage is by no means a foregone conclusion, since there are some influential voices in Sacramento who believe that Hollywood is swimming in money and not in need of any help from the government.

Not surprisingly, however, the bill has many advocates in the industry — particularly union leaders — and among local officials in the Los Angeles area.

Support urged

“Contact your state legislators immediately,” George Spiro Dibie, president of Intl. Cinematographers Guild Local 600, wrote in a letter to members. “Urge them to support legislation that would provide production companies with incentives to keep the work in California. … It won’t do to just sit around and complain.”

Mike Antonovich, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, introduced a motion at the board’s July 6 meeting supporting the state legislation on the grounds that runaway production “has resulted in a loss of jobs and impacted our economy.” The motion was approved unanimously by the five-member board.

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