California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs $200 Million Movie/TV Production Tax Credit Extension

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The state's program, designed to stem runaway production, now ensures funding through 2017 of $100 million each year, as it has since 2009.

The two-year, $200 million extension to the movie and television tax credit program has been signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown. It ensures that there will be a program to stem runaway production at least through July 1, 2017.

The bill authored in the Assembly by Felipe Fuentes and pushed in the state Senate by Ron Calderon continues an annual outlay of $100 million a year to subsidize productions that are made in the state, with a special bonus for those TV series that return from out of state.

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“By creating tens of thousands of jobs and pumping billions into our economy, the film and television tax credit program has truly been a statewide economic stimulus package,” said Fuentes. “Extending this incentive program will prevent production companies from moving their projects, jobs and spending out of California.”

According to Fuentes, so far, $400 million in tax credits has been allocated to eligible film and television productions since the program was signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. Of that, only $229,139 has actually been claimed for tax credits

The unions and guilds lobbied heavily for the extension, which was originally environed as a five-year program that would provide even greater stability to attract productions. To make it though the state Senate however, it had to be trimmed to two years, and the Assembly followed suit to get it done.

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The guilds said in a statement: “We are extremely gratified and pleased that the two-year extension of the California Film & Television Incentive Program, AB 2026 and SB 1197, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown after being approved overwhelmingly by both houses of the California State Legislature. Unlike most other industries, ours is a highly mobile one – film and television production can be shot anywhere. Because of that reality, thousands of our members who live in California and want to work in California are dependent upon this state remaining competitive. We know firsthand that this program has created employment opportunities for them, and with that, health and pension coverage for them and their families.

“We commend the legislature and G0v. Brown for recognizing that the motion picture business is an integral part of the economic and cultural powerhouse that has been California during the last 100 years and that this is just as important a part of this state’s future as its past.

We would also like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes and Sen. Ron Calderon for their vision and tremendous, unwavering support of this bill from the first day to the last.”  

Last year a five-year extension went to the end of the session and ended up a one-year extension, becoming one of the first bills Brown signed after taking office. Now he has signed another.

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"The state of California took a big step forward today, thanks to Gov. Brown and the legislature," said U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the  Motion Picture Association of America. "The two-year extension of the state’s production tax credit will keep California competitive for tens of thousands of production-related jobs. This is an important victory for California’s economy, our national economy, and the hardworking men and women who comprise the film and television industry.”