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.