UPDATE: The California Film Commission sent out this alert today:

Early this morning, the California legislature passed a tax credit for film and television productions that film at least 75% of their shooting days in California, as part of the state budget bill. The program is funded for five years at $100 million per year beginning in fiscal year July 2009/10 through the 2013/14 fiscal year. (However, credits may not be utilized until tax years beginning in January 2011.)

The Production Incentive Program is geared towards feature films with budgets between $1 million and $75 million, TV series that relocate to California, and TV series produced for basic cable.

Eligible productions may receive tax credits equal to 20% of qualifying expenditures or 25% for independent films (with budgets under $10 million) and TV series that relocate to California. Only below-the-line expenditures qualify.

Enormous thanks goes out to a broad coalition of entertainment industry groups who worked tirelessly on this effort for many years. Those groups include: DGA, IATSE, AFTRA, SAG, Teamsters, MPAA, IFTA, Hollywood Post Alliance, PGA and countless film workers, producers, support businesses, the CFC board, and others too numerous to mention.

Over the next few months, CFC Director Amy Lemisch will be working on drafting program regulations and application procedures.

It took lots of arm-twisting until the early morning hours, but there’s finally an agreement on the new California budget that still includes film tax credits aimed at slowing runaway production from the headquarters of the movie business. That $100 million in tax incentives annually kicks in only at 2011 for 5 years and is aimed at luring moviemakers to stay in California despite the Legislature’s need to bridge a $42 billion state budget gap.

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