Legislation would provide $650 mil in tax credits

Key runaway production legislation remained alive Thursday in the face of California’s $23.6 billion budget gap.

The State Senate Appropriations committee placed Assembly Bill 2747, which could provide $650 million in tax credits to producers, in its “suspense” file. The action, which had been expected, means the panel will probably consider the legislation next week along with other bills with financial impact on the state.

“It’s been a real uphill battle in Sacramento to convince people that this bill isn’t for the benefit of rich people,” said Assemblyman Dario Frommer, a Los Angeles Democrat and one of the bill’s co-authors. “Runaway production is something that really hurts average working folks.”

The panel discussed amendments to shorten the time period from the original five years but Frommer remains hopeful the legislation will remain intact.

The legislation, aimed at productions with budgets under $10 million, provides wage-based tax credits for the first $25,000 paid to each employee. Gov. Gray Davis first proposed the legislation in January with a start date of mid-2004 in order to give the state time to recover from its budgetary crisis.

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