L.A. Council Goes After Runaway Productions

17 new lures include more tax breaks, free parking and direct power links.

Last Updated: October 8, 2009 @ 1:47 PM

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a series of recommendations, including free parking and tax breaks, aimed at making it easier to film in the city. The goal is to put an end to runaway film and television production.

Among the 17 recommendations approved: free parking (except for the cost of providing security) in city parking lots on weekends and after business hours; special power nodes for use while filming in downtown L.A. (instead of generators); and implementation of a sales-tax refund for productions that do more than 75 percent of their shooting in Los Angeles.

Also included are recommendations directing the city’s Business Tax Advisory Committee to evaluate business tax credits for building owners who allow free exterior filming and interior filming for a "reasonable rate," and the designation of one staff person per Council district as its filming contact.

In the spirit of increased information flow, the city would include on its website a list of each city department’s contacts for filming. Also, the city will work with location managers to compile a list of "10 hardest to film in locations" and report back to the council in 30 days with solutions for those problem sites.

The city wants FilmLA to increase its role in marketing the film industry to city residents and to act as an ambassador between the city and the industry. Also, the city is working on a process to allow FilmLA to manage vacant city property for locations.

The council also directed the city attorney to prepare an ordinance that gives the Los Angeles Police Department the power to legally enforce properly permitted film shoots, including making it illegal to disrupt a permitted shoot.

Councilman Richard Alarcon, who chaired the jobs and business development committee that crafted the recommendations, told the Los Angeles Times: "We are in competition with locations throughout the country as well as Canada, and if we do not fight to keep filming in L.A., it could have a devastating effect on our economy. Some argue that it already has. It’s critical that we recognize filming as a significant part of our economy and that we need to grow and protect it."