Bobby Shriver, who is running against Sheila Kuehl for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, says California urgently needs to raise the tax credit for Hollywood productions to levels competitive with other states.
The California credit “ought to be $10 million more than New York,” said Shriver in an exclusive interview with TheWrap. “New York’s is $425 million a year. We should be $435 million. If they’re $435 million we go to $445. Not to be cute, but we are not f—ing playing.”
The California’s TV and film incentive program passed a committee hearing in Sacramento earlier this month, as the current program will have used up all of its $100 million in annual funding in June 2015. (The program technically exists for two years beyond that.) An increase in the amount of money available is also likely to be part of the final bill but still will not approach the levels of New York, for example.
The tax credit is decided by the Sacramento legislature, not the Board of Supervisors, but Shriver intends to use the board’s influence to put the issue front and center.
Asked how he would effect change if elected, Shriver said: “I will organize all the supervisors and all the elected officials — federal and local — to go to Sacramento and demand that [governor] Jerry Brown sign legislation increasing the credit. We are taking this fight to New York and Louisiana.”
He continued: “Aren’t we California? Louisiana’s tax credit is $267 million. We can’t compete with Louisiana? Where I come from, we can compete with anybody. This state was created by competitors.”
California has suffered economically as hundreds of entertainment production jobs have moved to states and foreign countries that offer generous tax credits.
A number of states and nations have offered incentives that have significantly cut into California’s slice of the production pie. The film and TV production exodus has cost the state an estimated $410 million in state and local tax revenues and also meant sacrificing 47,600 jobs and $9.6 billion in economic output, according to a study released in March by the Southern California Association of Governments.
Shriver, the brother of journalist Maria Shriver and ex-brother-in-law of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a lawyer and former mayor of Santa Monica.
Shriver accused Brown of being passive as jobs were siphoned away to other states, notably New York. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he pointed out, issued a press release seeking to retain “The Tonight Show” in the city.
California, he said, needs to do that.
As to where the state would find the additional millions of dollars, Shriver said: “I leave that up to the governor. I honestly don’t know. But in a $108 billion current state budget, I can’t imagine it’s impossible to find $330 million.”
He added: “It’s not just the money, it’s the attitude. Toyota moved 400 jobs to Texas. Jerry Brown said there’s nothing we can do — they’re consolidating. If you believe that I”ll give you an Easter bunny. It has to be that it’s cheaper in Texas.”
The election is on June 3.