Los Angeles politicians plan new California filming incentive bill

Los Angeles politicians plan new California filming incentive bill

from: Nick Goundry, The Location Guide

Two Los Angeles politicians have pledged to push for better California filming incentives with a new bill in 2014. Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Senator Kevin de León, both Democrats, say they will introduce a bill that will aim to curb California’s runaway production problem.

California offers a 20% filming tax credit but its USD100 million annual film fund is failing to compete with many of the state’s eastern competitors when it comes to feature and TV drama production. The money is allocated using a lottery system and the programme doesn’t support shoots with production budgets above USD75 million.

“First thing in 2014, we need to extend the film tax credit and improve it to maximise job retention and bolster this home-grown industry. I look forward to partnering with Assemblyman Gatto on this effort,” said Senator De León.

“We look forward to hearing from constituents from all sectors of the entertainment community to find out how we can make the tax credit work more effectively to improve and expand California’s economy,” said Assemblyman Gatto.

While the rhetoric is clear, there are no details yet of what specific policies will be proposed in 2014.

California needs to be able to offer more money in its annual fund on a long-term basis if it’s to get the attention of TV dramas looking to make a multi-year commitment to the state.

Expanding support to big-budget productions will be necessary to stop Hollywood studio features heading to Louisiana, New York or Georgia, or indeed internationally to Canada or even overseas to the UK. Star Trek Into Darkness (left) has been one of only a handful of big-budget films to shoot in California in recent years and this was only achievable because director JJ Abrams covered some of the costs himself.

Watered-down compromises seem more likely for California’s filming incentive programme, given the state’s finances and the fact that conservative opposition towards filming tax credits have strengthened.

The pledge from Senator De León and Assemblyman Gatto comes shortly after the new Mayor of Los Angeles appointed former studio executive Tom Sherak as his new ‘film czar’. Sherak will lead the Mayor’s campaign for improved filming incentives.

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