$ 330 Million Television and Film Production Tax Credit Bill Approved by Assembly and Senate

Bill that would dramatically increase tax incentives for film and television in California to $ 330 million passed both the Senate and the Assembly on Thursday.

Senate Bill 144, written by Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), would increase the tax credit allowance for qualifying film and television productions, with a percentage increase in the credit granted when the goals of production diversity are achieved. In total, $ 180 million would be added to the current film tax credit program, of which $ 150 million would be earmarked for a new sound stage construction incentive to help attract new productions in the long run.

The additional funding would be ceded over the next few years, with $ 15 million of the funds earmarked for television series moving to California for fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, and $ 75 million would be allocated to recurring television series each. . year.

$ 150 million would be specifically added to a new credit that would give a figure equal to between 20% and 25% for the construction of studios over the next ten years. An additional 4% should be added when diversity goals are met or if there has been a “good faith” effort to meet the goal. SB 144 would provide for credits to be awarded by the California Film Commission in the same manner and at the same time as existing film credit. The Commission would also submit an annual report to the legislature indicating what the diversity targets are based on the total number of jobs in the industry.

In total, the state would add about $ 90 million each year to the state’s current film and television production incentives.

Senator Portantino drafted the bill in large part to help bring film and television production back to California, building on previous incentives in recent years that have brought back dozens of productions from other major regions that had previously taken billions in production spending from California, such as Georgia, Florida, New York, Toronto, British Columbia and the Czech Republic.

“The success of California’s film tax credits has put dozens of productions in their place and created thousands of well-paying middle-class jobs,” Senator Portantino said Thursday. “SB 144 creates a dynamic economic development program for California’s significant and historic film and television industry. Investing in the construction of sound stages and the establishment of studios and filming locations is a critical addition to our efforts to increase filming in the Golden State. By investing in the expansion and modernization of studio infrastructure, we can ensure that another generation of careers in entertainment will be created in California. “

“Let’s bring back a basic historic industry to California. “

Senators, Assembly members unanimously approve SB 144

While film tax credits have typically cost the state around $ 1.1 billion every 5 years since tax credits were first given a huge boost in the wake of the Great Recession, the film tax credit program, in turn, generated $ 17.9 billion in production spending in California, boosting many local economies , especially in the Los Angeles area.

“Not only has it made a ton of money for most industries in the economy here, since productions need everything from hotels to rental space to food to on-site shoots that can really go n “anywhere, California has also erased a lot of the competition,” said John Whistler, film production analyst in Los Angeles. “California’s long-term tax credits have greatly reduced production in places like Massachusetts and Florida, and wiped out Michigan Film Industry. And right now, they’re targeting Georgia, which is the current epicenter of Marvel film productions, and their former rival Vancouver. California wants movies to be shot there again and TV shows to come back. They have the infrastructure for that, but the productions want to cut costs. So California is going after everyone now. “

“Georgia in particular is terrified of losing its film industry, especially Marvel productions, and this bill can help make that happen. Actors especially hate the humidity there. California does. not that. Many would actually pay higher taxes than those related to humidity, or Georgians believe it or not. Credits can be that latest push to get California to take a big chunk of Georgia. “

California lawmakers quickly came to an agreement on Thursday. SB 144 quickly passed the Assembly 62-0, with unanimous and bipartisan support. The Senate followed with a 37-0 vote.

Film industry executives immediately welcomed the move on Thursday, noting in particular the longer-term benefits of sound production credits.

“The pursuit of the entertainment industry, one of our core industries, is key to California’s economic success,” Robbie Hunter, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, said in a statement. “The Sound Stage Construction Tax Credit, led by Senator Portantino, will allow California to remain competitive with other states looking to carve out Hollywood as yet another raid on the California economy.”

Opposition against the bill has been minimal, with no lawmakers speaking out against SB 144.

“California is getting a massive return on investment through local economies is huge to gain support from both sides,” Whistler continued. “By spending just under $ 900 million in tax credits in one cycle and increasing spending within the state by $ 6 billion in that same cycle, it saves money. money. And all of these income increases just bring in more tax dollars and create lots of jobs. Everyone voted for it because it makes fiscal, political and social sense. The only downside is that a few Angelenos might have their street blocked off for filming for a week.

Governor Newsom is generally expected to sign SB 144 soon.

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