Hollywood Back in LA


What a day for California and our signature industry.

On Sept. 18, I joined Mayor Garcetti, some of my City Council colleagues, and state lawmakers as Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. Gov. Brown held the bill signing in Hollywood at the TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grumman’s).

It’s a symbolic location that has hosted countless film premieres and showcases the cemented hand and foot prints of nearly every big star to grace the silver screen.

The bill, AB 1839, increases the tax credit to $330 million a year for the next five years from the current $100 million a year. Funding will begin next July and run through June 2019.

”Today, we remind the world that the Golden S tate is the home of the silver screen,” Governor Brown said at the billsigning ceremony in Hollywood. “This bill helps thousands of Californians – from stage hands and set designers to electricians and delivery drivers.”

The legislation passed after Brown and legislative leaders agreed last month on the $330 million annual tax credit figure. Los Angeles area lawmakers, Mayor Garcetti and industry and business leaders had been pushing for a $400 million annual allocation, closer to the amount New York offers. In the last 15 years, film production has dropped nearly 50 percent in California. In 2013, all but two of the 23 new prime time series were filmed outside of California. Leaders hope the additional funding will help win back some of those losses.

It includes big-budget productions costing $75+ million and one-hour TV shows. It will take effect in 2016 and will replace old lottery system with a process that gives priority to projects based on job creation prospects and economic benefit. It’s fantastic news for Los Angeles and the entire state.

As someone who has worked on this issue for years, I know first-hand how important this expanded incentive is. It will create tens of thousands of good, middle-class jobs and generate billions in economic activity.

We should all thank Gov . Brown, the bill’ s authors (Valley Assemblymen Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, Raul Bocanegra, DPacoima. as well as Mayor Eric Garcetti, who did incredible work to win the Governor’s support for the measure.

How do I know this expanded incentive will work? Because I wrote the state’s first successful film and TV tax credit as a State Assemblymember in 2009.

My bill granted $100 million per year for qualified productions for five years. It was a huge success, resulting in at least $4.3 billion in direct spending and supported 22,300 good California jobs with $1.6 billion in wages.

As successful as the production tax incentive has been for California, an expansion was overdue. S tates like New York, Georgia and Louisiana had begun of fering more generous packages and taking local production away . To remain competitive and grow local jobs, California had to take a bold step forward—and that’s what we just did.

The film and television industry occupies a special place in our state’s history and economy. It has been the lifeblood for hundreds of thousands of people and small businesses. It is our homegrown industry and it defines us around the world.