Report: Film Tax Credits Propelled Economic Increase


California’s motion picture tax credits – and the economic boost that they are credited for providing – have gone up each year since the program expanded in 2015, as the state competes with ramped up programs in Georgia and New York.

Those were the findings of the California Film Commission’s annual report on its motion picture tax credit program that the state agency released Nov. 2.

The study found that between July 2017 and June 2018, the Film Commission allocated $357 million in credits to 56 film and television projects, money that is reimbursed to the movies and shows after they submit a budget to the state.

The $357 million in tax credits led to $2.6 billion in direct-in-state spending, and $980 million in total wages earned by cast and crew workers on the TV and movie sets.

The state economic activity and also wages earned increased from July 2016 to June 2017 when $289 million in tax credits was spent on 51 projects. Those projects triggered $765 million in qualified wages earned by cast and crew, and $2.0 billion in direct-in-state spending.

But while California may be home to Hollywood, Georgia is the central location for publicly subsidized motion pictures.

The Peachtree State had $9.4 billion in direct in-state spending from motion picture tax credits, according to a Georgia state study cited in the film commission report, more than three times the direct-in-state spending of California, in Georgia’s last measured fiscal year.

New York also has more direct in-state spending stemming from motion picture tax credits than California, with $3.8 billion in the last measured year.

The United Kingdom and Canada also generate more direct spending from tax credits than California.

California more than tripled the money available for film tax credits in legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2014, creating a five-year, $1.5 billion tax credit program. Brown renewed the program earlier this year, signing legislation earlier that keeps spending at $1.5 billion total over the next five years.

The Film Commission report paints a picture of a film production industry increasing its output in California, nationally, and internationally. For example, one section of the report notes that 23 sound stages in the Los Angeles region were either built in the last two years or are in the works.

Media and entertainment reporter Matthew Blake can be reached at (323)556-8332 or [email protected]

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