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Bill Would Boost Tax Credit For Film, TV Productions

torontocitylife / Flickr

torontocitylife / Flickr

The final push is on at the capitol in support of a bill to expand California’s tax credit program for film and T.V. productions. Supporters hope a broader program will help the state combat runaway production. The measure faces a key committee vote Thursday.

The bill has sailed through the legislature with almost no opposition – in part, because it
doesn’t yet have a price tag. The bill’s sponsors want to boost the amount of tax credits offered to films and TV shows that shoot in state. But by how much?

Here’s how Senate Appropriations committee chair Kevin De Leon answered the question on the Senate floor: "Stay tuned and see if it’s a blockbuster number.”

Suspense only a Hollywood-area senator could build. Currently, the tax incentive pot stands at $100 million a year. Most supporters want to at least quadruple that because ― the state’s biggest rival ― New York  ― offers more than $400 million in credits. 

But Kevin Klowden of the Milken Institute says there are Hollywood dreams and Sacramento realities.

"The number was left off the bill until now for a reason – because in the end, the Senate and the Governor have to agree as to what the funding level will be," says Klowden.

The bill’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, says he’s pushed for new language to
allow the state to measure a production’s economic benefits.

"Make sure that the way we structure the credit has sort of predetermined the outcome that these are going to be big job productions but also to have meaningful auditing requirements on the back end before anyone can get paid," says Gatto.

Opponents of expanding the tax credit program say California shouldn’t join an arms race to see which state can offer the most subsidies to an already lucrative industry.

-By Brian Watt

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