Deal Struck on Calif. Production Tax Credit

Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators have struck a deal on a new bill (AB 1839) to extend and expand the state's TV and film production tax credit program.

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.

The goal is to stem the flight of production from the state. According to Senate Republican Leader Huff, who co-authored the legislation, that has meant a 50% drop in California production in the past 15 years, with 21 of 23 new primetime series filmed outside California.

The new credit, if approved as expected, will take effect in fiscal year 2015-2016.

“This law will make key improvements in our Film and Television Tax Credit Program and put thousands of Californians to work,” said Brown.

The California Film & Television Production Alliance, which has been working for more than a decade to beef up the tax credit, was understandably elated at the news.

"This is a win both for the State of California and the working men and women across this state who will no longer have only one choice — to leave their families to feed their families," said the alliance. "Behind the glitter that most people associate with Hollywood is the glue that holds it together — the many talented and often unheralded men and women whose names fly by in the credits. Their voices are rarely heard but they are today."

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.