L.A. approves incentive package

City aims to keep film, TV productions in town

There are no tax credits in there yet, but the Los Angeles City Council has approved a package of incentives aimed at keeping film and TV productions in Los Angeles.

The council adopted the seven-point package in a unanimous vote Wednesday. It includes provisions designed to make it easier to shoot in L.A., and it directs city staffers to develop guidelines for a business tax break for film and TV productions.

Key components include providing producers with assistance in identifying parking options for crews and with reducing parking costs and the installation of utility nodes in frequently used locations to eliminate the need for generators.

Move by the council comes a month after the state of California approved a $500 million production tax credit incentive program, which goes into effect in July. Execs in the TV biz have already complained about the limits in the state program, such as incentives for new series being available only for hourlong series for basic cable with budgets of at least $1 million (Daily Variety, March 17).

The city’s incentives were included in a report from chief legislative analyst Gerry Miller following a request by council president Eric Garcetti after ABC’s “Ugly Betty” moved its production from Los Angeles to New York. Miller’s report used an analysis by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. that asserted a one-hour TV program generates more than 180 direct jobs, supports 540 indirect jobs, generates $2.2 million in state income taxes and $880,000 in state sales taxes.

Julie Wong, a spokeswoman for Garcetti, said the city’s aiming to provide the tax break for productions that aren’t eligible for the state incentive program. No timetable’s been set for implementing that part of the city’s initiative.

“The entertainment industry is a key economic driver for Los Angeles, and we need to do what we can to keep production where it belongs — in the entertainment capital of the world,” Garcetti said in a statement.

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