Deal on Calif. Production Credit Draws Plaudits

Unions and studios were lining up this week to praise California legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown for striking a deal on legislation (AB 1839) to expand and increase California's TV and film production tax credit.

The current program allows the California Film Commission to hand out up to $100 million in tax credits a year to some California productions, with a lottery used to award the credit.

The new credit will be up to $330 million a year for the next five years and does away with the lottery, instead ranking companies according to net jobs created and economic impact.

Motion Picture Association of America chairman Chris Dodd suggested the legislation is vital to the state's survival as a production center. "It once again makes California a viable place to film the big budget movies and TV shows that generate thousands of jobs and millions in revenue and spending at businesses all across the state," he said in a statement.

"Governor Brown and the state legislature have taken an enormous step toward stemming the loss of good middle class jobs in California."

“The Directors Guild of America applauds the deal to expand, extend, and improve California’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program," said DGA president Paris Barclay. "[W]e are much closer to passage of this critically important legislation. The DGA has worked tirelessly, together with many other guilds, unions, and others in the entertainment community, on behalf of our members to ensure that California remains a viable place to make the films and television shows that provide good jobs for thousands of men and women each year while entertaining and inspiring millions around the world."

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who earlier this month joined other members of the California congressional delegation calling on Brown to support the bill, added her thanks.

"This is a big win for California," Chu said. "Brown’s approval of a robust and competitive tax credit will not only help keep our production jobs, but hopefully bring them back to our state. Now our craftsmen and women who are forced to leave their families for months to follow their jobs will be able to find work closer to home. I applaud the Governor and State Legislature for their commitment in making sure we maintain our strong heritage in the film and television industry." 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.