California film, television tax breaks would triple under new deal from lawmakers

By Daniel S Levine,

In another effort to woo back film and television production to the Golden State, California lawmakers announced a new deal that would more than triple the tax breaks.

The deal was announced by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who wrote on Twitter, “Proud to announce a deal with Dem and Rep leg. leaders to expand, extend & improve CA’s TV & film tax credit program.”

The bill’s principal authors are Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, notes Variety. They had initially hoped to quadruple California’s current $100 million tax credits, but have had to settle for $330 million.

In addition to expanding it, the program will continue through the 2019-20 fiscal year. The new program will kick in during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Gatto told Variety that they are “ecstatic” to get the deal done. “We believe that this number will provide more certainty to the process,” he explained. “When there is a big pool like this, it greatly increases the chances that productions will receive the credit.”

Even though Hollywood is located in California, film and television production has been steadily leaving the state for bigger tax breaks. According to Reuters, the California Film Commission has said the state lost $2 billion in the last four years as producers leave.

Despite today’s deal, which still has to be signed by Brown and approved by the legislature before the end of the current session, California still has a way to go if it hopes to seriously compete with other states that have bigger tax break programs. For example, New York has only seen a growth in production, since the government there has $420 million set aside for tax breaks annually.

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