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Petition Started to Extend California Film/TV Tax Credit (Video)

Extension of the program is currently up for vote in the state legislature

A petition drive is underway to save the the film and TV tax credit established by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger two years ago. 

Uptake of the program, which was intended to provide $100 million annually for qualified productions and was originally funded for five years, has been so aggressive, the credit will be out of money by 2013.

Cinematographer Ed Gutentag has established the petition  on Change.org to provide additional funding for the program, as well as extend it beyond its 2014 expiration.

Also read: Study: California Film & TV Tax Generated $3.8B in Economic Activity, 20,000 Jobs

Gutentag told TheWrap that his petition has already gathered over 575 signatures in its first five days.

"I'm trying to save California," he told TheWrap. "Because when you think about it, especially in L.A., [the film and television business are] huge drivers of this economy."

According to a study released by the L.A. Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday, the tax credit program has generated $3.8 billion in economic activity, more than 20,000 jobs and over $200 million in state tax revenue for the state since its introduction. 

The California State Assembly voted overwhelmingly in May, 72-1, to extend the program.

The California State Senate will now vote later on this summer on the extension, which would then move on to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown if it passes.

Of course, with GOP state lawmakers embroiled in the usual tense budgetary dance with Brown and legislative Democrats, guys like Gutentag aren't taking any chances.

Despite spearheading much of the campaign's grassroots social media, which includes three Facebook groups, a blog (ShootMoviesInCalifornia.com), and a twitter page, Gutentag isn't fighting the battle solo.

On Tuesday, Matthew Gross, executive producer of ABC's "Body of Proof," and California State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), urged the California State Legislature to extend the tax credit program for another five years, during a press conference at the Disney lot in Burbank.

“Here in CA we have the business in our grasp,” Gutentag told TheWrap. “We’re not chasing after it like other states — it’s ours to keep.”

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