Tripled California Film-TV Tax Credit Heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Desk

Jerry Brown Film and TV Tax
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A bill to more than triple California’s film-TV tax credit program from $100 million to $330 million a year has cleared its final legislative hurdle and is headed for the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The State Assembly approved AB 1839 late Friday night, following the State Senate’s approval in the afternoon — two days after Brown and legislative leaders had worked out a compromise that reduced the annual allocation from $400 million to $330 million.

That’s still short of the $420 million offered by New York each year but backers assert it will enable California to remain a leading production center and compete more effectively against Georgia, Lousiana and New York. The new bill will expand the program to offer credits of 20% and 25% to most one-hour network TV dramas, movies with budgets over $75 million and one-hour TV pilots.

The new program, which will go into effect in the 2015-16 fiscal year for five years, will also do away with the current current lottery selection with a new competitive system based on a “job creation ratio.”

The current program went into effect in 2009 during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second term as governor.

The California Film & Television Production Alliance – which has focused on spotlighting the impact of runaway production on below-the-line workers — issued a statement late Friday:

“On behalf of hundreds of thousands of middle class California workers, creative talent, small businesses, vendors, local governments, film commissioners, theatre owners, and tourism, hotel and lodging associations – all across the state – we are elated by the successful votes on both the Senate and Assembly floors, securing the California Legislature’s  passage of AB 1839.  When we began this effort in the winter of 2013, with an ever-growing cascade of film and television production leaving California, there were many who told us that this would be a failed effort, that nothing could be done to bring back the thousands of jobs that had already left the State, and that the voice of the working men and women in our business could never overcome the glamourous stereotype of Hollywood. Today’s votes show they were wrong.

“First and foremost, we would not be standing where we are today without the unwavering dedication, leadership, and guidance of our two authors, Assemblymembers Gatto and Bocanegra, who stood with us every step of the way in support of thousands of working Californians who create films and television shows and want to remain valuable contributors to this great State. Our success, and our thanks, is also due to those in the Legislature who share our concerns and commitment including Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, and especially Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin de Leon for his commitment to achieving the best possible version of the bill.”

UPDATE — Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, on the passage of the bill to expand, extend and improve California Film and Television Tax Credit Program:

“The MPAA and our member studios again thank Assembly members Gatto and Bocanegra,  Senator DeLeon, Senate President Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Atkins, Republican Leaders Huff and Conway and their colleagues for their leadership in getting this important bill done.  It will bring tremendous benefit to the thousands of men and women in California who work in this industry, and it stands to bring billions of dollars into the state’s economy in revenue, spending and wages.  We look forward to Governor Brown’s signature on the bill and commend the Governor and legislative leaders for their commitment to this industry that is so critical to the continued growth of California’s economy.”



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  1. Jeremiah Clements says:

    Like I said u people dont do your research you morons keep blabing that producers and filmmakers dont want to shoot in la anymore when In fact this year alone a record 497 film and tv projects applied for Californias tiny 100 million a year tax credit and the ones who did not get the the tax credit shot their projects in another state. In a poll almost all of the filmmakers prefered to shoot their projects in California but because the did not get a tax credit they were forced to shoot somewhere else. The producers and directors said that out of the own mouths. Oh by the way I work worth producers directors and almost all of them dont want to move from cali if they dont have to. And one more thing if sound stages are not important any more then why is louisana georgia and canada trying to build sound stages and an infrastructure simular to California because it is vital to the the filmmaking process u f….ing idiots . By they way dont take my word for it read about it do your research before u dumb asses start running of at the mouth . Stop hating because where u live is boring

    • MIster says:

      You sound like a troll. Fix your grammar while you are at it. You don’t honestly believe the crews in those cities learned nothing they were trained by CA dept heads, the post production infrastructure is there. Runaway production has been going on for decades, the damage is irreversible. But I ask you what happened to California’s other industries? What’s being done to bring them back?

  2. MISTER says:

    Garcetti once said other states were eating out of California’s plate but someone should tell him, that plate doesn’t belong to California, it never did. Things are not as they used to be.

  3. Jeremiah Clements says:

    The reason why new york offers 420 million in tax breaks is beacause it is more expensive to shoot In new york than la and the reason why that is is because real estate in new york is more expensive. People from new york is moving to la idroves and its not just of hollywood. Its because of the weather. California los angeles in particular will always have an advantage over other cities and countries. There are many parts of dowtown la that look like new york. Take hollywood from la people will .still move to la beacause of the weather

    • MISTER says:

      Seriously? Well yeah I mean that’s the only thing LA has it going for them is the weather that’s about it. CA’s dominance over the industry has long since been broken. For one is globalization, CGI, backlots are becoming a thing of the past like that comment said why would film in CA something set in NYC when you can film in the real city? People are moving away from CA in droves many of them to Texas because the liberals are driving down the state with their failed policies. The state is in the worst drought of a generation.

      • Jeremiah Clements says:

        Mister or whatever your name is people from texas are moving to la in droves Ive worked them on set and I see texas license plates everywhere In la if texas was so great why are native born texans leaving in droves. Oh I know why its because texas Is boring as hell. I ask each and every person I meet from texas why did they move to California? And they all say the same thing. Texas is boring not much to do the weather is to hot and humid. So they move to la and 9 out 10 said they love la despite the cost of living being higher.

  4. jc says:

    I am sick and tired of the ignorance in the comment section I can tell that none if u idiots know anything about the movie industry or how it works. Ive worked in this industry for 25 years lived in ca for 15years. Cali has some of the best locations In the world with the most exp and best trained crews in the world. More actors writers muscians dancers come here more than anywhere else In the world that includes new york. If any of u morons did your reasearch you will find out that canada was the first country to offer tax credits followed by the republican states of louisana and georgia those two states alone offer uncapped money towards film production. They were the ones who started the race to the bottom not cali.

    • Doctor What? says:

      Morons? Not ignorance common sense, California has the second highest taxes in the country. Answer me this why would a film or show set in New York be filmed in Cali when you can film in the real city for a lot less? Globalization has changed things it’s a new world. Cali does have a lot of great locations but filmmakers want a certain look, a setting has become another major character in a film or show. I am not pretending to know anything about the film industry I’m just seeing things the way I see them.

    • Amen most people don’t do their research before spouting off about something they know nothing about.

  5. macdomain says:

    Well, Jerry will want the illegal aliens from Mexico to come on across the border and take our film jobs, since he likes them more than the idiots who put him in office.

  6. Mason says:

    Let’s look at what happens if we simply get rid of all the state tax subsidies across the US. Then those productions will simply pick up and leave the country, going back up to Canada, to Eastern Europe, to Australia, to anyplace they can where they can save a buck. They won’t just turn around and come back to Los Angeles. That ship has unfortunately sailed.

    Southern California had several competitve advantages over other areas a century ago when the american movie biz plated itself there after leaving its birthplace in the Northeast: (1) lots of bright sunshine year round, (2) variable terrain (mountains, desert, ocean, farmland) all within reasonable day trip time, (3) lots of affordable property for studios and studio workers, and (4) a pretty laissez faire environment in terms of state and local govt, esp in comparison to back East.

    All those competitve advantages are GONE. Camera & recording technology has improved exponentially, and you don’t need a flood of light to capture an image. Your kid’s iPhone is leagues better than what the kings of Hollywood in the 1910s and 1920s had at their disposal. CGI and greenscreening can fake any BG environment necessary. The snowy mountains are in the computer & not just at Big Bear. Forget affordable land. The ONLY factor among the historic competitive advantages listed above that is still within California’s power to control is the business and regulatory climate. Once upon a time, the film industry needed SoCal more than SoCal needed the film industry. Now the tables have turned. Divorce #1 (aerospace industry) put a huge dent in the SoCal economy but it looked to be survivable. If Divorce #2 happens (and the separation phase is underway as we speak) it could be the killer.

  7. Hades says:

    Backlots and sound stages are becoming a thing of the past, producers are increasingly using natural locations to shoot their movies and TV shows. LA relies on backlots and sound stages so unless a show is set in LA I don’t see many productions wanting to go there.

  8. Alex says:

    This will make the unions happy…for a few minutes. This will not stop the Hollywood left from shooting in the southeast red states.

  9. Mike says:

    All this is a scheme to hand money over to the Studios to try and patch the fact that their bad movies and TV shows fail to make money. All in all, experience since 1946 has shown again and again that subsidizing one area does not actually create any growth (if anything, because the government isn’t so efficient you’ll get fewer dollar spent/invested if they have to transition through the government’s funds, even just with the need to pay government workers to administer and monitor the handouts).

  10. D says:

    California is in the worst drought of a generation, they are second in the nation in high taxes and this is a major priority? They can do whatever they want but California’s glory days are long behind them especially since they are more business than creative, more reboots, more reimaginings, more retellings they haven’t made a decent movie in decades. The world has changed, movies and TV shows can be made anywhere and everywhere but speaking of which what about the other industries that have left CA and LA for greener pastures, what’s being done to bring those back? The irony of it all is that runaway production is the reason why people even know California exists in the first place. Typical liberals throw money at the problem hoping it plugs the hole. Why film something set in NYC in California when you can film in the real city for much less. They rely too much on backlots and sound stages.

  11. Dave says:

    Thanks for posting – first time I’ve heard of this and no one else has the story. Here is the liberal agenda exposed – tax breaks for Hollywood while the rest of us pick up the bill. Ever think about lowering taxes for everyone? Our economy would be multiplying jobs if Mitt was elected in 2012…anyone still trying to find work out there?

  12. david says:

    Congratulation for paying single actors $35,000,000 a picture and receiving triple corporate welfare from the poor tax payer.

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