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California Production Tax Credit Extension to Move Forward

California legislators have moved forward on extending the California Film and Television production tax credit for five years beyond its 2020 expiration.

The State Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 951 by a 37-0 vote on Thursday. The legislation continues the current annual allocation of $330 million in tax credits and extends the sunset of the program from 2020 to 2025. The State Assembly passed similar legislation, Assembly Bill 1734, a week ago.

The program, which allocates as much as 25% of the budget to credits, was more than tripled in size in 2014 to compete effectively with incentives in New York and Georgia. The program is overseen by the California Film Commission, which selects the TV and movie projects to qualify partly based on the number of jobs created. It’s expected that the legislature will reach agreement on a final bill in the late summer before sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Prior to the Film and TV Tax Credit the industry was fleeing the state looking for locations that offered incentives,” said co-author Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley). “That was particularly hard for areas like the Santa Clarita Valley where there are a lot of families involved in the film industry. Extending this tax credit is about more than keeping California competitive in an iconic industry, it’s about the quality of life for regular California families. When filming goes out of state the strain on local families is immense.”

Wilk co-authored the legislation with Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). Wilk said Santa Clarita has seen first-hand the positive impact the 2014 tax credit had on its local economy, with 25% qualifying productions either based in Santa Clarita or partially filmed there.

Since the expansion, the program has helped to relocate a total of 13 series to California, including Amazon’s “Sneaky Pete,” FX’s “Legion,” and HBO’s “Ballers.” Feature films covered under the program include Disney’s upcoming “Captain Marvel” and Paramount’s upcoming “Transformers” spin-off “Bumblebee.” The commission announced April 9 that it had selected two relatively big-budget films — “Ford v. Ferrari” and “Coming 2 America” — as recipients of the production tax credit along with seven other projects for a total of $55 million in incentives.

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