Proposed California filming incentive boost clears latest hurdle with $400m fund
A proposed boost to California’s filming incentive programme has cleared the latest political hurdle on the way to becoming law. The increased tax credit was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee with an annual fund of around USD 400 million.
Boosting the annual fund to USD 400 million would mark a quadrupling of the existing tax credit and could have a dramatic impact on the state’s ability to compete with New York, which offers USD 425 million a year.
The new bill also gets rid of California’s controversial lottery allocation system to prioritise productions that create the largest number of local jobs and have the biggest overall economic impact in the state. Essentially, the amendments would mean that big-budget Hollywood features and high-end TV dramas would get priority in a move that could help stem California’s long-term runaway production problem.
“One of California’s most important and iconic industries has been the film and television industry,” Senator Kevin de León, Chair of the Appropriations Committee: “Hollywood is synonymous with that industry but in the past decade that industry has been cannibalised by other states and countries that have poached tens of thousands of California jobs with lucrative financial incentives.
“To halt that steady outward march of jobs and creativity, California must have a robust, smart, and efficient tax incentive programme of our own – a tax incentive programme that guarantees job growth and economic expansion, coupled with strong accountability and transparency measures.”
California rarely hosts big-budget features or TV dramas any more as the current filming incentive does not support them. Stories set in California – such as the recent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – routinely shoot just a few days in the state before relocating to a city that offers a more generous filming incentive.
The boosted bill must still be approved by the California Senate and the Governor in order to become law.
(Dawn of the Planet of the Apes photo: Weta Digital/20th Century Fox)
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