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Tax credit bills approved in Legislature

Two bills to extend incentive program head to governor's desk

Two bills to extend California’s tax credit production incentive program for two years have been approved by the State Legislature and gone to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

Assembly Bill 2026, authored by Felipe Fuentes (D.-Sylmar), passed the Senate on a 32-3 vote Friday night on the final day of its session. And Senate Bill 1197, authored by Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), also passed the Senate 26-0 on Friday night.

Brown has 30 days to OK or veto the legislation. The governor OKd a one-year extension of the program last year.

The 3-year-old program is strongly endorsed by the film business as a sensible method to create below-the-line jobs by giving producers incentives to lense in the Golden State. Currently, California provides $100 million in annual tax credits for productions, but the 25% credit is smaller than many other programs, and demand far exceeds supply, with 28 projects selected by lottery out of more than 330 in the most recent round in June.

“By any measure, the program so far has been a tremendous success and should be extended,” Fuentes said in a statement. “With the state’s unemployment rate hovering around 12%, we need this incentive to help keep hundreds of thousands of Californians employed. Extending this incentive program will prevent production companies from moving their projects, jobs and spending out of California.”

Calderon said in a separate statement that the film industry is “quintessential California” and added, “With the passage of my measure, this legislature has stated loud and clear that it wants to keep the film industry here, employing Californians and generating revenue for our economy.”

The current funding for the program provides for a final $100 million in tax credits to be announced next June. Both the Fuentes and Calderon amended their bills to provide for a two-year extension rather than a five-year term.

Fuentes carried a bill last year that saw the state Senate opt for a one-year extension rather than the five-year extension originally planned. Program backers have asserted that the one-year extension, as opposed to a multiyear program, has created a lack of certainty among producers deciding whether to shoot in California.

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