Runaway success

Prod'n tax credit backers ready petition for Davis

Proponents of a bill providing tax credits to California-based TV and film productions have gathered 40,000 signatures in the past three months and plan to present them to California Governor Gray Davis next week.

The 10-month-old Film & Television Action Committee has scheduled a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Monday at Burbank (Calif.) Airport to hand over its petitions to Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Glendale/Burbank). The lawmaker then is set to fly to Sacramento and deliver the documents to Davis’ office.

Seeking Governor’s support

FTAC chairman Jack De Govia said the event has been timed to encourage Davis to announce support for anti-runaway production legislation in his upcoming state-of-the-state address. Production tax credit legislation authored by Wildman cleared the State Assembly but did not reach the Senate floor for consideration before lawmakers concluded the session in September.

De Govia said Davis has given little indication of whether he will support the bill, which provides a 10% tax refund on labor costs. He added that Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica, West L.A. County), who authored a companion measure earlier this year, has been discussing the runaway production issue with Davis’ staff recently.

The petition asks Davis to sign Senate Bill 756, which was grafted by Wildman into another bill just before the session ended in order to make it easier for lawmakers to act on it during the upcoming session.

“We want the governor and the State Legislature to know that California’s statewide film and television community still supports refundable tax credits as the weapon of choice against foreign subsidies,” De Govia said. “Producers want them because they plug into budgets simply. Legislators like them because they pay for themselves. California must have them to compete in the new global production economy.”

Runaway losses

The FTAC petition notes that the governments of 43 nations, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are spending “millions” in tax rebates and loans “to buy California’s film and television production.” The document also cites figures from a report by the Monitor Co., commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America, showing that runaway production from the United States created $2.8 billion in direct losses and $10.3 billion in negative economic impact in 1998.

The advocacy group, which staged rallies in Burbank, Hollywood and Sacramento this year, plans to gather more signatures at the “Celebrate 2000” festivities at Van Nuys Airport, one of five family-oriented events sponsored by the city of Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve. De Govia said about 40 FTAC supporters plan to circulate petitions.

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