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Gov. Brown Approves $330M Film Tax Credit Bill

Governor Jerry Brown signs off on a deal that more than triples funding for California's film and TV tax-credit program to $330 million a year over the next five years.

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed off on a deal that would more than triple funding for California's film and TV tax-credit program, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

The compromise would increase funding to $330 million a year over the next five years. While that falls short of the $400 million annually sought by backers, the amount is substantially more than the $100 million that the state currently allocates.

“This law will make key improvements in our Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work,” Brown reportedly said.

AB 1839 also would allow more projects to qualify, including new network television dramas and big-budget studio movies, and would provide additional incentives for projects that shoot in California cities other than Los Angeles.

It would also scrap a controversial lottery system used to divvy up funds. Instead, tax credits would be allocated based on how many jobs projects would create.

The deal, which is expected to be approved by the Senate this week, was the result of intense negotiations involving Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senate President Pro Tem-elect Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles).

AB1839, which was unanimously approved by the Assembly in May, cleared a major hurdle earlier this month when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill in a 5-0 vote.

The measure is intended to reverse a steep loss in film production that has hammered Southern California’s homegrown entertainment industry, causing widespread job losses and hardship for prop houses, visual effects companies and other vendors that depend on local filming.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), would replace a program enacted in 2009. The law was intended to make California more competitive with some 40 states that offer tax breaks to the film industry.

Funding would begin in fiscal year 2015-2016 and run through fiscal year 2018-2019.

California currently allocates $100 million annually to film and TV productions, less than a quarter of what New York provides.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.