Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed legislation on Wednesday that will extend California’s film and television tax credit program through 2030.
If passed, the bill, SB 485, will provide $1.65 billion or $330 million annually in financial support for film and television makers and other content creators. It extends the program, which was financed until 2025, for an additional five years. In 2021, Newsom signed a temporary increase of $180 million over two years for the program, which temporarily increased the annual amount to $420 million. The governor signed a separate $150 million incentive last year for soundstage construction.
The extension also comes as Newsom is attempting to lure more business to California and away from states such as Texas or Florida that have imposed new restrictions on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“As other states roll back peoples’ rights, California will continue protecting fundamental freedoms for all and welcome businesses that stand up for their employees,” said Newsom in a statement. “Extending this program will help ensure California’s world-renowned entertainment industry continues to drive economic growth with good jobs and a diverse, inclusive workforce.”
Newsom is taking his message directly to the Hollywood community, which has decamped for states like Georgia with abortion restrictions because of their lucrative film and television tax credits. Entertainment companies such as Disney and Netflix still plan to shoot shows in Georgia, but have pledged to pay for employees to travel to other states to obtain reproductive care.
In a recent ad in Variety that was paid for by Newsom’s campaign fund, the governor calls out states like Georgia and Oklahoma for their efforts to “…strip reproductive freedom.” He goes on to urge studios and producers to “…take stock of your values — and those of your employees — when doing business in those states.” In contrast, the California governor says, “We share your values.”
Newsom previously trolled Republican governors like Texas’ Greg Abbott and Florida’s Ron DeSantis with newspaper ads and television spots that highlight their conservative policies on guns and abortion, while attempting to lure business to California. Those moves have fueled speculation that Newsom has presidential ambitions.
In announcing his support for the film and tax credit extension, Newsom argued that the program generated $24 in economic activity for every $1 invested and said it created over 110,000 jobs.
In a release touting the governor’s support, California Film Commission Executive Director Colleen Bell echoed Newsom’s clarion call to Hollywood to reject red states that offer lucrative credits, but oppose abortion rights.
“The governor’s announcement today speaks to the values held by so many people across the film and TV production industry,” she said. “More than ever, California offers the best value and the best values.”
“Working in and supporting a state that violates basic freedoms is antithetical to the industry’s core values,” Bell added. “It’s also bad business.”
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Newsom and California lawmakers passed legislation to help protect patients and providers in California from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state. Newsom also issued an executive order that prevents any information, including medical records, from being shared by state agencies in response to investigations brought by other states that restrict abortion access. In the state’s budget, Newsom’s administration added more than $200 million in additional funding for reproductive health care. Newsom said the additional funding was necessary as people from other states with bans are now expected to travel to states like California to obtain abortions.