California State Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes’ bill to extend the state’s production incentive program for five years cleared a hurdle yesterday when the state legislature’s Arts & Entertainment Committee passed the bill by a margin of 8-0 with one abstention. It still has to clear other committees, like the assembly’s Committee on Revenue and Taxation, before moving back to the legislature for final passage.
AB 2026 is a bi-partisan measure that has 18 co-authors including four principal co-authors – Assemblymembers Betsy Butler, Nora Campos, Mike Gatto and Senator Fran Pavley.
Fuentes, along with a broad coalition of film industry stakeholders introduced a bill in February. AB 2026 would extend the state’s film and television tax credit program by an additional five years. The original credit was enacted in 2009 as part of a targeted effort to create jobs, increase production spending, and tax revenues for the State. Last year, Fuentes authored AB 1069, which extended the program by one additional year – which allows for the last credits to be authorized in July 2013.
“By creating tens of thousands of jobs and pumping billions into our economy, the film and television tax credit program has truly been a statewide economic stimulus package,” said Fuentes. “With the State’s unemployment rate hovering around 12%, we need to extend this targeted incentive to help keep Californians employed. Extending this program will prevent production companies from moving their projects, jobs and spending out of California.”
A recent study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) showed that the first two years of the program generated $3.8 billion dollars in economic activity statewide, created more than 20,000 jobs and over $200 million dollars in tax revenues. The report also found that for every tax credit dollar allocated so far, there has been more than $20 pumped into the State’s economy.
“We are very pleased that the California State Legislature’s Arts & Entertainment Committee voted decisively today to pass AB 2026,” said Bryan Unger, associate national executive director/western executive director of the Directors Guild of America. “The California incentive program, since its passage in 2009, has lived up to its promise. California-based DGA members have been among the direct beneficiaries of the thousands of jobs created by this program, enabling them to work in the State, remain close to their families, and in turn support local businesses and local economies.”
“The $3 billion in direct production spending generated by this program is ample evidence of its importance to California,” he added. “We thank Assemblymember Fuentes, Chairwoman Campos and the other co-authors for their leadership role in helping to keep California a viable location for film and television production.”
So far, $400 million in tax credits has been allocated to eligible film and television productions. The program specifically targets productions that are the most likely to leave the state due to incentives being offered in other states and countries. Today over 40 U.S. states, New York City and Canada among others, offer substantial financial incentives to the film industry.
“This program has proven itself in both job creation and increased economic activity throughout the State. Productions are planned sometimes years in advance and episodic cable series must be assured that if they are fortunate enough to qualify for the tax credit program and plan to keep their production here in California that these credits will be available for the run of the production,” said Leo T. Reed secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 399 who represents thousands of drivers, location managers, casting directors and other crafts in the industry.