Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill to more than triple funding for California's film and TV tax-credit program.
The bill, AB 1839, increases the tax credit to $330 million a year for the next five years from the current $100 million a year. It also changes how money is doled out: Instead of a lottery system, productions will be ranked on how many jobs they create. Funding would begin next July and run through June 2019.
“Today, we remind the world that the Golden State is the home of the silver screen,” Brown said at the bill-signing ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. “This bill helps thousands of Californians – from stage hands and set designers to electricians and delivery drivers.”
The legislation passed after Brown and legislative leaders agreed last month on the $330 million annual tax credit figure. Los Angeles area lawmakers, Mayor Eric Garcetti and industry and business leaders had been pushing for a $400 million annual allocation, closer to the amount New York offers.
In the last 15 years, film production has dropped nearly 50 percent in California. In 2013, all but two of the 23 new prime time series were filmed outside of California. Leaders hope the additional funding will help win back some of those losses.
Garcetti praised the measure, saying it was the number one priority on his job-creation agenda.
“Production and production jobs are being lured away by big financial incentives from other states,” he said. “This legislation levels the playing field to protect our signature industry and the middle class jobs it supports.”
Local studio executives also heralded the legislation.
“Over the last 20 years, our California has lost much of its film and television production work, and with it the solid technical and creative jobs that our industry provides,” said Steve Papazian, president of worldwide physical production for Warner Bros. Pictures. “This legislation is a catalyst to grow those positions for the thousands of current and future crew members who want to work here and for the myriad small businesses that supply and support our industry every day.”
Not everyone welcomed the legislation. The Bring Hollywood Home Foundation, which says it represents small and independent film producers, says the bill will mostly benefit major production studios and leaves out smaller producers.
“Independents who make most of the films in other states and countries are not going to be able to work in California with such a small sum of money: $11.5 million total in 2015-2016 and $16.5 million in the subsequent years of the legislation.” said Sharon Hardee Jimenez, president of the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation.
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