California Production Tax Credit Legislation Gains Momentum

California Production Tax Credit Legislation Gains

Lawmakers aiming to sweeten state's program

In a move to pave the way for sweetening California’s production tax credit program, a pair of legislative panels have scheduled an Oct. 9 oversight hearing on crafting a new bill.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a two-year $200 million extension of the program last fall, and those funds will be doled out in June 2014 and June 2015. Producers have complained that the program falls far short of demand and is significantly smaller than programs in other states.

The hearing, which will take place at SAG-AFTRA headquarters, will include a presentation from California Film Commissioner Amy Lemisch and be chaired by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and Assemblyman Ian C. Calderon, chairman of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee.

Actress Stacey Travis will appear on behalf of SAG-AFTRA. A trio of economists have been set to speak — Christine Cooper of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., Kevin Klowden of the Milken Institute and Caroline Beteta of Visit California.

The hearing was announced on the same day that MPAA chairman Chris Dodd called for an expansion of California’s program to include big-budget films, noting that the state has lost out to others on projects like the sequels to “Man of Steel” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

On Thursday, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and and state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) said that they plan to introduce a film and TV production tax credit legislation in January. Gatto and de Leon have key roles in Sacramento as chairmen of their respective chamber’s appropriations committees.

Bocanegra and Calderon, who are both Los Angeles Democrats, authored Assembly Bill 3 early in the current legislative session as an “intent bill” that will be written with the goal of improving the state’s 4-year-old incentive program — which currently provides $100 million annually in tax credits with feature films eligible only if their  budgets are under $75 million.

The state film commission has reported that since the tax incentive program was created, $242 million in incentives have been issued, leading to 51,000 jobs being created and $4.75 billion in economic activity.

SEE ALSO: MPAA’s Chris Dodd Calls for California to Expand Tax Credits to Lure Big Budget Blockbusters

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  1. Pascal Guillemard says:

    As the President of IATSE Local 728, Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians, I can tell you that runaway production to states offering much larger tax incentives than California’s is an overriding concern of our members. All of California’s IA Locals are gearing up to push our legislators in Sacramento to do something about this, as in a major increase in the Film & Television Incentive Program, before Hollywood turns into another version of the auto industry in Detroit. All unions, guilds and affiliated businesses need to band together and educate the people of California about the tremendous financial benefits that production work in California provides to the statewide economy.

  2. David Larson says:

    if california did a simple “we’ll match your state credit” program, ALL production would be back here in a year and both jobs and income would be so high that the budget would have a surplus again. it’s really that simple folks. just like stores have a “bring in the competitors coupons” to get business.

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