A bill extending California's TV and film production tax credits cleared two key state Senate panels Wednesday, with the clock on the legislative year ticking loudly.
A coalition of industry and labor is supporting the measure, AB 2026, authored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles). It sailed through the Senate Government and Finance Committee by a 7-0 vote and then was passed on a 4-0 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Backers are racing to win approval before lawmakers go home on Friday. It extends by two years a program providing $100 million in annual tax credits for productions.
The bill now goes to the full State Senate for a floor vote on Thursday or Friday, If it passes in the Senate, it would then go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who would make decision about signing it in the next month or two.
Brown approved a one-year extension of the program last year but hasn't indicated whether he would sign the legislation, designed to help stem the tide of film and TV productions leaving the state for other regions. His office of finance opposes the measure.
The state Senate has approved a separate but virtually identical bill, SB 1167, authored by state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Los Angeles).
The three-year-old program is administered by the California Film Commission. According to a 2011 report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the tax credit program led to an infusion of $3.8 billion into California's economy as well as the creation of 20,000 jobs.
The bills originally called for a five-year extension but were scaled back by legislators wary of the state's ongoing economic woes. The California Film and Television Tax Credit Program is currently scheduled to end in fiscal year 2014-15 with the last of the credits allocated by July 2013.
A coalition of unions, guilds and associations representing workers in the TV and film industry applauded the progress.
SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild, the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council, Teamsters Local 399, the International Alliance of theatrical Stage Employees, Professional Musicians Local 47 and the Recording Musicians Association are all supporters.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the original bill into law in 2009.