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.”