California Senate Passes $330 Million Film and TV Tax Credit Expansion

Tax incentive bill heads heads back to the Assembly for reconciliation and then on to the governor’s desk for final approval

Film production
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The California State Senate has approved legislation to expand California’s movie and TV tax credit from $100 million to $330 million annually.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed off Wednesday on blockbuster legislation that super-sizes California’s TV and film tax credit bill to more than three times what it has been in the past. The move comes after California has lost almost $9.6 billion to film and television productions leaving the state.

Also read: Why Is California Tripling Film and TV Tax Credits While Other States Slash Them?

The new measure calls for $330 million in incentives to be allocated to TV and movie producers and means that the state can strike back at the numerous states and countries that have gutted one of California’s signature industries by luring projects with juicy tax breaks over the past decade.

The bill, which was co-authored by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), still needs go back to the Assembly for reconciliation before the legislative session ends Sunday, and then on to Gov. Brown’s office for final approval. It was passed in the Senate by a 32-2 vote, with 6 Senators not voting.

Also read: California Super-Sizes Its Film, TV Tax Credit Program

While not matching the $420 million annually that New York offers, the expansion of California’s program will level the playing field. New York, Louisiana and Georgia, as well as Canada and the U.K., have siphoned off huge chunks of California’s once dominant TV and film production industry. It has cost California more than 47,000 jobs and $9.6 billion in economic output to rivals, according to a study done by the state’s local governments. Of this summer’s top ten movies at the box office, only the Universal Pictures comedy “Neighbors” was filmed in the state.

The $330 million annual credit falls short of the $400 million-per-year sought by the bill’s co-authors, but more than triples California’s current tax credits for film and television productions. Funding would begin in fiscal year 2015-2016 and run through fiscal year 2018-2019.