from: Rick Orlov, Daily News –
Taking a new step to end the decline of film production, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday said it plans on waiving permit fees for all pilot productions as well as for the first year of filming in the city of Los Angeles. The council also asked for reports on how to cap a tax charged broadcast companies and how to get the state to develop a tax credit for video game manufacturers.
“In 2006-2007, Los Angeles was home to more than 60 percent of the dramas,” said Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor. “Last year, that dropped to 29 percent. That represents thousands of jobs – good-middle class jobs – that are lost to the city. We want producers to know that when they film a pilot here they are welcomed and if it is picked up, they will want to stay in Los Angeles.”
The city could lose an estimated $231,000 in tax revenue.
“That’s a small price to pay for a big return,” Garcetti said.
Film L.A. President Paul Audley called it a significant step for the city. “This sends a message to the industry that we do want them to stay here,” Audley said. “The next step is for the city to work with Sacramento about getting tax incentives for the industry.” Audley said it has been a combination of incentives offered by other cities and states that have lured production away from the Los Angeles area.
Ed Duffy, business agent for Teamsters Local 399, said the city action recognizes the importance of the jobs behind the cameras. “Much of the Southern California economy depends on the industry, from filming to tourism, to the dry cleaners and caterers,” Duffy said. “We need to be able to offer the incentives to compete with other jurisdictions.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said the incentives are critical for the industry. “There is no question that film and television are the underpinnings of the Los Angeles economy,” Koretz said. “There is no question that runaway productions threaten our economy. We have to do everything we can to offer incentives to film and television.”
As for broadcast studios, the council asked for a report on how it can cap taxes on the facilities to keep them in the city. It would be similar to an existing entertainment industry cap. In addition, the council asked the state Legislature to look at offering a sales tax refund to video game manufacturers to keep them based in the city.