Assembly hurries bills to stop runaway prod’n

Wildman proposes 10% tax credit

Two bills that would provide tax incentives for film & TV production in California were ushered through the Assembly Appropriations Committee in Sacramento on Wednesday.

The measures, known as Assembly bills 484 and 358, could be considered by the full Assembly as early as next week. If approved there, they would then be put before the Senate.

“We cleared a real major hurdle to get this incentive through Appropriations,” said Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Burbank) referring to 358, which he authored. “Our biggest hurdle is to educate the people in the rest of the state as to the significance of the entertainment industry.”

Wildman told Daily Variety that the increase in productions abroad, particularly in Canada, and a drop in Hollywood-based shoots have taken a toll on both local employment numbers and California’s overall economy.

“We’ve clearly taken a hit,” Wildman said. “We’ve lost billions of dollars, and if we don’t reverse this trend we’re going to lose the industry altogether.”

Wildman’s bill would provide a 10% tax credit against labor costs incurred on film, television and commercial productions of any size working entirely in California.

The other bill, introduced by Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), would provide a 6% tax credit on labor costs paid under a collective bargaining agreement for work done in California on motion picture and TV productions costing less than $5 million.

A synopsis of Kuehl’s bill says the measure “rewards companies that produce low-budget movies in California and hopefully will stem the tide of business leaving California.”

Job losses in Hollywood, the synopsis says, “are being blamed primarily on the labor subsidies and other perks offered by the Canadian government and other competitors.”